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Survey points toward promising future for graduates

May 7, 2010

Ninety percent of UW-River Falls graduates who completed the post-graduate placement survey are currently employed, either full- or part-time, according to the UWRF Research and Development Institute (RDI).

Post-graduate placement statistics used to be collected in a paper format sent to the graduates with their diploma by Career Services. With the switch from Career Services to the RDI, the post-graduate placement surveys are now conducted online and are sent to graduates in the form of e-mail invitations using the program Qualtrics, according to David Trechter, director of the Survey Research Center.

“We sent an electronic invitation to 826 students; 177 started it (meaning they at least clicked on the link) and 128 completed it completely,” Trechter said. “Among the 49 who started but didn’t complete the survey, I think there are some partial completions that had enough data entered that we kept them.”

The post-graduate placement statistics give students an idea of the likelihood of finding a job after graduation, as well as what to expect in terms of pay, Trechter said.

“I actually never looked at too many stats or anything about probability of getting a job or salary,” Scott Keeler, UWRF alumnus from 2009, said. “I was always told to make sure that you did something that you loved not just for the money.”

“The statistics are entered into a database and reports are generated and then sent to the administration, department chairs, Career Services and several alumni associations, which vary by major, and are also available online. The reports show how many graduates responded, how many have jobs, how many are going to graduate schools, as well as how many are still looking for employment,” Trechter said.

“The department uses it to keep track of demand for graduates,” Trechter said, “and what they are getting in terms of salaries, what percent of graduates are employed or going to grad school.”

The statistics are also used in recruiting high school students to show the probability of job placement after graduation in each major.

“This data is more complete than in years past,” Trechter said. “Data will likely be more sparse in the future as we don’t have the time or the funds to contact a lot of grads.” In order to collect data, the RDI sends e-mail reminders every couple of days after the initial contact, as there are currently no incentives for graduates to complete the survey.

First-year student Laura Kleppe, a mathematics-secondary education major, said she picked her major because math is something that she enjoys and she really wants to be a teacher, and didn’t use statistics on job placement or salary to determine her major.

“The biggest concern I have is finding a job,” Kleppe said. “I hope to find a job around here so I don’t have to move away.”

Business administration-broad area management major Kelsey Peterson said she also did not determine her major based on the likelihood of having a job after graduation. “I chose my major because I want to run my own business some day,” Peterson said. Peterson said her biggest concern is if she has chosen the right major and what she will do before starting her own business.

“I actually would encourage people entering college to look at the statistics a little more than I did,” Keeler said. “But I would also encourage them to look for information about their desired field outside of information from college.”