Report: 91 percent of recent LAS alumni secure a first destination soon after graduation

Illini Success initiative surveys graduates during the 2022-23 academic year
Graduates at U of I commencement
The Illini Success initiative has been reporting on the life and career paths of new alumni since 2016.

An annual study of recent alumni reports that 91 percent of LAS alumni who graduated during the 2022-2023 period secured a first destination within six months of commencement.

Of that figure, 50 percent of new graduates found employment and 40 percent sought further education such as graduate or professional school. Roughly 1 percent went into volunteer or service work. The average salary for new LAS alumni is $71,135.

The data comes from the Illini Success initiative, a campuswide report that began in 2016 to shine light on the early career paths of bachelor’s degree recipients. This year’s report examines undergraduates who received their degrees in August 2022, December 2022, and May 2023.

The university collected data on 56 percent of graduates—1,788 out of 3,181—from the 2022-2023 class. The data came from a survey of graduates and other sources, such as the National Student Clearinghouse and social media. The 91 percent first destination rate for the College of LAS matches the campus average.

“We’re extremely pleased to see another year of promising statistics coming out of the Illini Success report,” said Venetria K. Patton, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. “As the numbers continue to show, an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts and sciences provides the foundation for success in a wide variety of opportunities after graduation, whether young alumni choose to become employed, pursue more education, or take another route, such as volunteering or providing service.”

The LAS numbers were similar to campuswide statistics. Campuswide, 91 percent of the 2022-23 graduation cohort secured a first destination: 56 percent of students started a job, 35 percent enrolled in additional education, and 1 percent took on a volunteer or service position.

The university continues to attract top students in the state who stay in Illinois after graduation. Of those graduates who are Illinois residents, 78 percent secured their first destination within Illinois and 69 percent of all graduates from the 2022-2023 classes remained in the state for employment or continuing education. The remaining 31 percent secured first destinations across 48 other U.S. states and 25 other countries.

“The day we release the results from this survey has become one of our annual highlights,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “We know that the choice to attend Illinois will provide our students with a world-class educational experience. The Illini Success data demonstrates that the decision to come here is also a great investment in your life and career after you graduate.” 

The Illini Success report also serves as a measurement of how many graduates participated in an experiential learning opportunity (internship, research project, study abroad, service learning, clinical programs) while attending Illinois. The report noted that 88 percent of graduates took part in experiential learning, with 40 percent of those students receiving job offers as a result of that opportunity. 

Julia Makela, senior director of LAS Career Services, said the college offers services to students from all LAS majors to explore potential futures.

Throughout their undergraduate journey, LAS students are encouraged to engage in meetings with career coaches, workshops and networking events, peer mentoring, in-depth career courses, support for internships and experiential learning, and much more,” Makela said. “We’re proud of the continual strong and compelling graduate outcomes of LAS students, as evidenced by the Illini Success Initiative, and will continue to advocate for and support this trend.”

Of note in LAS, graduates in chemical and biomolecular engineering and mathematics and computer science reported 100 percent first destination rates. Chemical and biomolecular engineering had information from 101 of 122 graduates and math and computer science had information from 58 out of 87 graduates. Eighty percent of chemical and biomolecular engineering graduates sought employment, while 43 percent of math and computer science graduates sought employment. The remainder sought further education.

Also, graduates in several humanities units reported higher than average first destination rates, with English and creative writing graduates recording a 94 percent first destination rate, history and philosophy reporting 96 percent, and literatures, cultures, and linguistics reporting 95 percent. Those categories are each 4 to 10 percentage points higher than four years ago. The graduates in those units are also reporting rising salary figures.

“Students studying the humanities learn skills that are increasingly recognized as valuable: navigating ambiguity, communicating effectively to different audiences, analyzing complex qualitative data,” said Kirstin Wilcox, director of LAS Career Services. When you take smart, curious, independent-minded students and give them some support in finding and applying for opportunities, they do well.”

News Source

Dave Evensen and Thomas Bruch, Illinois News Bureau