First Destination Survey Indicates Post-Graduation Success for Class of 2018

Nearly nine out of every 10 graduates secured post-graduate plans within six months after graduation, the survey found.

May 10, 2019

By Briahnna Brown

From the class of 2018, 87 percent of George Washington University graduates have solidified employment, education or community service plans within six months of graduation, the annual First Destination survey reports.

The post-baccalaureate First Destination survey, which the Center for Career Services and the Office of Survey Research and Analysis conduct annually, explores undergraduate employment and education outcomes six months after graduation.

The data will be added to the Undergraduate Employment and Education Outcomes data visualization that helps current and prospective GW students while they consider majors, and they can get a broad look at where a GW degree in various fields of study can take them based on where GW alumni before them have gone.

Of the 2,273 survey respondents—which totaled 84 percent of the class of 2018—61 percent indicated that they secured full-time or part-time employment, 23 percent were enrolled or planned to enroll in continuing education and 4 percent are engaged in other activities such as community service or travel. Of graduates seeking to continue their education, 66 percent are pursuing a master’s degree, 14 percent a law degree, 7 percent a medical degree and 6 percent a doctoral degree.

Caitlin Whitter, B.S. ’18, studied computer science while an undergraduate at GW and is now pursuing a doctorate in computer science at Purdue University. Ms. Whitter credits her success to the academic and professional guidance from the supportive relationships she developed with faculty and staff in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Computer Science and Center for Career Services. 

Her advice for 2019 graduates is to “maintain a high level of preparedness so that you can take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.”

Among graduates who are employed full time, 67 percent work in the private, for profit sector and 25 percent work in the nonprofit sector. Most graduates (79 percent) work in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and 10 percent are in the West/Southwest/Mountain region.

Steven Kelly, B.A. ’18, studied political communication in the School of Media and Public affairs and is now an associate at West Wing Writers. He said that SMPA could not have prepared him better for his post-graduation journey.

“SMPA taught me how to think, how to write and how to question,” Mr. Kelly said. “It filled my mental toolbox.”

Eight percent of graduates employed full-time are working in the public sector compared to 10 percent of the class of 2017. This decrease is likely due to federal hiring freezes and other changes with federal hiring that caused delays, said Rachel Brown, associate vice provost for University Career Services. She added that other Washington, D.C., universities are also seeing or anticipating a decline or delay in government employment for recent graduates.  The decline or delay in federal employment may also account in part for the 13 percent of respondents who reported seeking employment—a 2 percent increase from 11 percent of the class of 2017.

Additionally, the majority of the 13 percent of respondents who indicated that they were still seeking employment reported so in mid-March through May 2018, Ms. Brown said. The Center for Career Services was not able to obtain more current information despite a variety of outreach attempts.

This prompted the office to do things differently for the class of 2019, Ms. Brown said, particularly for those who have not secured their post-graduation plans. For example, if students indicate that they would like assistance in their employment search, the Center for Career Services will immediately reach out and connect them with a personal career coach who is available for in-person or virtual meetings and can recommend virtual and in-person workshops and networking events.

“We want first and foremost to make sure students and alumni know that we are here to help,” Ms. Brown said. “We think with more intentional programming and outreach over the summer, we will help students and new grads secure their post-graduation plans, and we'll have better data on outcomes, which is helpful to current and prospective students and families.   

“We highly recommend graduates utilize all of the career resources and services that are available to GW alumni, including GWCareerConnect, which is an online networking platform to connect GW students and alumni,” she added. “The platform also connects alumni with alumni, so if you are in transition as an alum, Career Services and your GW network can help!”

University News


First Destination Survey Shows High Post-Graduation Activity Results for Class of 2017

April 02, 2018
About nine of 10 graduates have solidified post-graduation plans within 6 months of graduation.

First Destination Survey Reports High Post-Graduation Activities Rates for Class of 2016

April 19, 2017
Results say 91 percent of 2016 graduates are employed, continuing their education or otherwise engaged.