Post College Follow-up Survey

Summary prepared by Mary Ann Weaver and Nichole Dudley

May, 2005

In 2004 Earlham participated in a project conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) to study life after college. HERI requested current addresses for a sample of alumni from the 1994 freshman cohort. Forty-nine alums were asked to complete the survey Life After College: The Survey of Former Undergraduates. HERI received 27 responses from Earlham alumni; 6 from men (22%) and 21 from women (78%). Some of the surveys were returned due to incorrect addresses, so the actual response rate is probably greater than 59%. HERI received 8,600 responses nationwide resulting in a 50% response rate. Nationwide, more women completed the survey (56.3%) than men (43.7%).

According to HERI, the survey is "designed to explore how the college experience impacts life after college, including participants' values, opinions, and current activities". The data received from HERI has been weighted to represent first-time full-time students who entered college in 1994 and graduated within 6 years.

The tables below provide the 2004 Earlham data compared to 4-year private colleges and the national norms. Longitudinal data is available for some survey items since this same group of students responded to the CIRP survey of new students in 1994 and then the HERI study: How Service Learning Affects Students in 1998.

 

CURRENT MARITAL STATUS

2004
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Married/domestic partnership
51.2
58.5
55.0
Single
48.8
56.0
45.0
A slightly smaller percentage of the Earlham sample have remained single compared to the sample from all 4-year private colleges and the national norm.

PREPAREDNESS

How well did your undergraduate education prepare you for:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Your current or most recent job:      

Not applicable

6.9
4.3
4.4

Not well

4.5
4.8
5.6

Somewhat well

37.4
26.1
26.2

Well or Very well

51.3
64.9
63.8
Graduate school:      

Not applicable

53.2
48.5
49.2

Not well

0.0
1.4
1.7

Somewhat well

7.7
8.1
7.8

Well or Very well

39.2
42
41.3

Although 37.4% of the Earlham graduates who participated in this study felt somewhat prepared for their current job, only 51.3% felt well or very well prepared compared to 64.9% from all 4-year private colleges and 63.8% nationally. The majority of the Earlham graduates were not attending graduate school, but 39.2% of the sample felt well prepared or very well prepared for graduate school.

 

Percentage responding that the following had a "strong impact" in preparing for life after college:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Coursework
35.7
26.5
23.3
Living away from home
55.3
64.8
65.4
Internship
59.9
44.3
47.2
Religious organization
72.8
55.2
29.6
Study abroad
61.9
34.3
56.5
Mentor(s)
47.0
32.3
30.1
The Quaker influence at Earlham stood out as having a strong impact on 72.8% of the Earlham graduates. A higher percentage of Earlham alumni felt their coursework, internships, study abroad and mentors had a strong impact in preparing them for life after college compared to the national norm and to all 4-year private colleges.

OBJECTIVES

Objectives noted as "very important" or "essential":

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
 
1994
1998
2004
2004
2004
Participating in a community action program
38.1
46.9
24.1
15.3
14.1
Helping to promote racial understanding
58.2
44.4
41.8
34.5
31.2
Keeping up to date with political affairs
52.9
36.9
50.2
40.8
39.4
Raising a family
57.3
67.6
60.0
82.0
82.1
Being very well off financially
34.4
39.7
37.3
48.4
54.1
Becoming involved in programs to help clean up the environment
51.8
42.7
45.0
19.8
20.1
Developing a meaningful philosophy of life
66.9
80.3
87.2
68.8
63.2
Participating in a community action program, helping to promote racial understanding, keeping up to date with political affairs, and being involved in programs to help clean up the environment are very important or essential to a higher percentage of Earlham alumni compared to the national norm. However, since coming to Earlham in 1994 as first-year students, these objectives have become less important. Developing a meaningful philosophy of life became more important to this group of Earlham students after their four years at Earlham.

GRADUATE STUDY

Have you ever attended graduate or professional school?
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
No
57.6
46.8
49.8
Yes
42.4
53.2
50.2

HIGHEST DEGREE

Are you now working toward...
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Master's Degree
23.9
28.8
26.5
Ph.D. or Ed.D.
0
8.3
7.4
M.D., D.O., D.D.S., or D.V.M.
0
1.5
1.3
J.D. (Law)
0
1.8
2.0
Other
5.4
5.7
4.2

 

Aspire to...
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Master's Degree
34.2
39.2
40.4
Ph.D. or Ed.D.
17.1
26.0
22.9
M.D., D.O., D.D.S., or D.V.M.
0
1.3
1.4
J.D. (Law)
5.4
4.1
4.3
Other
0
7.4
6.1

 

The sample from Earlham included 23.9% now working toward a master's degree compared to 25.9% of the 4-year private college sample and 26.5% nationwide. The national sample also had 7.4% of the alums working toward a Ph.D. or Ed.D. while the Earlham sample had none. However the goal of 17.1% of the Earlham alums is to earn a Ph.D. or Ed.D. Both the percentage of the Earlham sample that aspire to master's degree (34.2%) and to a Ph.D. or Ed.D. (17.1%) are smaller than the national norm.

EMPLOYMENT

In which sector is your current or most recent primary job?
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Public sector (e.g. ogvernment, public schools)
17.2
31.2
30.9
Private sector (e.g. business)
52.1
50.6
56.9
Nonprofit sector
30.8
17.7
11.9
Never been employed
0
.5
.3

The percentage of the Earlham sample who are working for a nonprofit organization (30.8%) is much greater than the sample from the 4-year private colleges (17.7%) and the national norm (11.9%).

In a typical work week, how many hours do you spend working (for pay)?
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Less than 10 hours
10.6
5.8
4.5
10-19 hours
3.2
2.5
2.4
20-29 hours
3.1
4.7
4.4
30-39 hours
29.0
13.4
12.6
40-49 hours
47.3
53.2
54.9
50-59 hours
6.8
13.9
14.3
60+ hours
0
6.5
6.8

SOURCES OF NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS ACCESSED

At least five times per week:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
A daily newspaper (including on-line versions)
33.1
25.5
27.3
Other newspapers
3.8
3.8
4.0
News magazines (e.g. Newsweek, Time)
3.9
1.7
1.8
Radio news broadcasts (including on-line versions)
55.9
38.0
36.0
Radio talkshows
11.7
17.4
18.1
Television - national/world news programs including on-line versioins e.g. MSNBC, CNN
18.8
31.8
32.6
Television - local news programs
15.9
29.8
29.8
Television talkshows
0
3.7
3.8
Other news on the Internet (e.g. discussion groups, special inssterst websites, blogs)
24.4
14.6
15.2
Professional or work-related news source
14.7
10.9
12.1
Word-of-mouth
19.0
24.2
25.0

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Respondents reporting they participated in community service/volunteer work since leave college through:

(once, twice, occasionally or frequently)

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
A school or educational organization
58.8
62.1
59.7
A cultural or arts organization
56.8
30.4
30.1
A religious or faith-based organization
32.2
62.4
49.4
A civic organization (e.g. United Way, YMCA/YWCA, Kiwanis, etc.)
29.7
32.5
33.1
A political organization (e.g. political party, campaign, etc.)
32.8
17.4
16.0
A sports or recreational organization
47.5
44.0
44.3
A hospital or health organization
24.7
26.9
25.0
An advocacy/issue group (e.g. Sierra Club, Common Cause, local advocacy groups, etc.)
52.4
19.1
20.1
A public/governmental agency
28.7
12.5
12.9
Through your employer
39.7
59.9
57.7
Other organization
18.1
27.1
25.5
A community organizing effort or neighborhood group
37.8
26.4
24.9
Of your own initiative, not through an organization
43.3
39.8
36.5

 

Activities performed as a volunteer since leaving college:

(once, twice, occasionally or frequently)

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Collect, prepare, distribute or serve food
35.3
48.3
42.3
Collect, make or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food
29.7
46.4
43.5
Teach, tutor, mentor, coach, or referee
58.0
65.2
58.5
Fundraise or sell items to raise money
46.9
48.4
46.3
Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS, or protective services
8.7
21.4
18.9
Supply transportation for people
18.3
32.6
27.1
Provide general office services
24.3
22.3
19.3
Provide professional or management assistance including serving on a board or committee
31.5
33.8
30.1
Provide information, be an usher, greeter or minister
45.9
38.5
30.4
Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities
52.1
35.8
30.7
Perform physical labor
64.6
62.2
56.9
Other
28.1
31.3
29.9

 

During the past year how much time did you spend during a typical week doing volunteer work?

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
None
28.3
32.7
37.8
Less than 1 hour
35.1
34.3
34.8
1 to 2 hours
29.2
19.3
16.0
3 to 5 hours
7.4
8.1
6.6
6 to 10 hours
0
3.7
2.7
11 to15 hours
0
.8
.8
16 to 20 hours
0
.4
.7
over 20 hours
0
.7
.7

 

During the past year how much time did you spend during a typical week commuting?

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
None
11.7
6.9
7.1
Less than 1 hour
10.3
16.0
16.6
1 to 2 hours
18.3
21.1
20.2
3 to 5 hours
40.7
26.6
26.4
6 to 10 hours
14.9
19.1
19.7
11 to15 hours
0
6.4
6.0
16 to 20 hours
0
1.3
1.7
over 20 hours
4.1
2.7
2.3

 

During the past year how much time did you spend during a typical week attending religious services or meetings?

Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
None
47.7
16.2
27.5
Less than 1 hour
37.3
16.8
19.4
1 to 2 hours
10.9

32.7

28.2
3 to 5 hours
0
24.3
17.6
6 to 10 hours
0
6.3
4.9
11 to15 hours
0
1.5
.6
16 to 20 hours
0
.7
.7
over 20 hours
4.1
1.5
1.1

Results on the next two tables are based on those respondents who indicated they have attended graduate or professional school. All of the Earlham alums from this sample who continued their education were women.

Respondents indicating they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the following at their current (or most recent) graduate/professional school:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Friendships with other students
93.2
72.3
73.8
Quality of instruction
64.2
79.7
78.6
Intellectual community
55.4
69.6
68.6
Overall experience
51.4
79.8
79.8
These Earlham students who went on to graduate or professional school were more likely to be satisfied with the relationships they have with other students but less satisfied with the quality of instruction and the intellectual community. Only 51.4% of the Earlham alums were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall experience of graduate school compared to 79.8% of alums from other schools.
As a graduate or professional student, did (do) you:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Hold a teaching assistantship
32.6
19.6
22.3
Hold a research assistantship
24.8
16.6
18.2
Attend an academic/professional conference
79.4
50.3
48.7
Help write a grant proposal
20.5
13.7
12.2
Conduct research that focused on gender issues
19.5
10.1
8.0
Develop personal friendships with faculty
59.5
52.0
49.6
Serve on department/institutional committees
27.3
12.9
12.8
Use your scholarship to address the needs of the local community
30.3
7.8
6.7
Mentor other students
58.1
33.4
34.3
Although the sample of Earlham alums who attended graduate school was small (12), it appears that the Earlham respondents were more likely than alums from other schools to become intricately involved in their education. A higher percentage of the Earlham alums held teaching or research assistantships and attended academic/professional conferences. Some of the Earlham alums also used their scholarship to address the needs of the local community and to mentor other students.

AGREEMENT

Respondent agrees "strongly" or "somewhat":
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Dissent is a critical component of the democratic process
96.3
76.4
76.1
The use of the internet and online petitions is an effective way to participate in the political process
84.7
68.7
69.3
In the United States, everybody has basically the same opportunity to be successful
23.7
40.3
41.8
Boycotting a company's products is an effective way to change its practices
86.8
68.0
65.7
The federal government is not doing enough to control environmental pollution
96.9
70.7
74.9
The federal government should raise taxes to reduce the deficit
72.7
26.9
29.4
Individuals who organize or participate in anti-government protests are unpatriotic
3.9
25.2
23.2
A national health care plan is needed to cover everybody's medical costs
87.9
62.2
63.5
Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America
2.9
17.4
19.6
The federal government should do more to discourage energy consumption
95.9
72.4
73.6
Realistically, an individual can do little to bring about changes in our society
12.9
22.1
24.1
Wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now
95.9
60.5
58.8
I am satisfied with the general direction in which our country is going
8.2
38.0
42.2
The difference between Earlham graduates and the national norm is most evident when we look at the responses to political questions. A greater percentage of the Earlham respondents agree or strongly agree that the federal government should raise taxes to reduce the definit and that the federal government is not doing enough to control environmental pollution and should do more to discourage energy consumption. Therefore it is not surprising that a much smaller percentage of the Earlham respondents were satisfied with the general direction in which our country is going.

ACTIVITIES

Activities engaged in during the past year:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
 
1994
1998
2004
2004
2004
Performed volunteer work
91.5
75.8
85.8
73.3
68.2
Discussed politics
36.6
23.8
64.9
36.8
37.2
Visited a museum or art gallery
81.9
85.7
86.1
73.3
74.7
Discussed religion    
27.3
47.1
33.7
Discussed racial/ethnic issues    
33.1
25.5
22.6
Received personal/psychological counseling    
24.2
18.6
17.3
Attended a religious service    
56.8
84.2
75.1
Participated in protests/demonstrations/rallies
36.6
28.3
25.1
10.2
9.0

Since the sample of Earlham graduates completed the CIRP survey in 1994 and the Life After College survey in 1998, we get a longitudinal look at their participation in various activities. While only a small percentage of the Earlham sample discussed politics in 1994 or 1998, 64.9% discussed politics in 2004. This could be due in part to the election and the controversial situation in Iraq at that time. The Earlham sample was more likely to discuss politics, but they were less likely to participate in a protest or demonstration in 2004 than they were in 1994 or 1998. Having said that, there was still a greater percentage of the Earlham sample participating in protests or demonstrations (25.1%) than the samples from all 4-year private colleges (10.2%) and the national norm (9%).

Compared to all 4-year private colleges and the national norm, the Earlham sample was less likely to discuss religion or attend a religious serivce.
Activites performed in connection with your undergraduate institution since leaving college:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Attended a sports event
37.8
53.4
54.7
Attended an alumni event
65.3
55.0
44.6
Donated money
72.9
56.9
49.2
Used an alumni organization service
41.4
30.9
27.2
Recruited new students to the college
43.5
34.5
29.3
Almost 73% of the Earlham sample donated money to Earlham since their graduation. This compared to 56.9% of the sample from all 4-year private colleges and 49.2% of the national norm. The percentage of Earlham's sample who attended an alumni event, used an alumni organization service and recruited new students to the college was also greater than all 4-year private colleges and the national norm. The nationwide sample and the sample from all 4-year private colleges had a greater percentage of alums who attended a sports event at their college since graduation than the Earlham sample.

SINCE LEAVING COLLEGE. . .

Since leaving college, have you:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Expressed your opinion on a community or political issue by signing a written or email petition
83.5
54.4
51.5
Bought a certain product or service because you like the social or political values of the company
84.6
55.9
54.7
Worn a campaign button, put a sticker on your car, or placed a sign in front of your house supporting an issue or candidate
43.5
27.0
24.1
Another example of the Earlham sample's interest in political affairs is shown in this table where 83.5% of the sample expressed their opinion on a community or political issue by signing a petition. Another 84% bought a certain product or service because they liked the social or political values of the company. And 43.5% made a statement by wearing a campaign button, putting a sticker on their car or placing a sign in front of their house supporting an issue or candidate. These Earlham percentages were higher than the sample from all 4-year private colleges as well as the national norm.
Since leaving college, have you carried a significant balance on one or more credit cards?
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Never
39.6
44.3
44.6
Once or twice
18.8
19.9
21.6
Occasionally
21.1
15.1
14.4
Frequently
20.5
20.7
19.4
These Earlham graduates did not handle credit card debt much different than the national norm. Although they were somewhat less likely to never carry a significant balance on one or more credit cards and slightly more likely to occasionally do so.

SELF-RATINGS

Respondent rated self "above average" or "highest 10 percent" compared to the average person his/her age in:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
 
1994
1998
2004
2004
2004
Artistic ability
48.3
45.4
57.3
27.0
25.3
Cooperativeness
71.6
83.4
67.1
75.2
76.7
Creativity
68.7
71.0
72.3
48.0
48.1

Leadership ability

50.7
66.6
72.1
61.8
63.5
Writing ability
55
76.8
74.3
60.8
61.4
Ability to discuss and negotiate controversial issues    
58.7
44.8
46.3
Ability to see the world from someone else's perspective    
78.6
65.8
65.4
Openness to having my views challenged    
60.0
49.9
51.9
Interestingly, a higher percentage of the Earlham sample rated themselves above average than all 4-year private colleges and the national norm in all abilities except cooperativeness. Earlham alums rated their artistic, creative, and leadership abilities higher than they did in 1994 and 1998.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Which of the following are/were significant sources of financial support during graduate/professional school:
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
Teaching assistantship
25.0
12.5
12.9
Parental, spousal, or other family aid
43.1
26.9
27.1
Student loan
56.4
48.2
47.0
Scholarship, grant or other gift
15.4
29.1
22.7
Student loans were the most popular source of financial support during graduate school for both the Earlham sample and the samples from all 4-year private colleges and the national norm. However, 25% of these Earlham alums work as teaching assistants to help pay for their graduate school. A smaller percentage of the Earlham sample received scholarships or grants for graduate school than the sample from all 4-year private colleges and the national norm.

POLITICAL VIEWS

How would you characterize your political views?
Earlham %
All 4-yr Private Colleges %
National Norm %
 
1994
1998
2004
2004
2004
Far left
12.9
9.2
6.6
2.7
2.7
Liberal
52.3
70.3
73.8
25.5
27.2
Middle-of-the-road
31.5
10.4
19.6
34.7
38.5
Conservative
3.3
10.1
0.0
35.4
30.6
Far right
0
0
0.0
1.7
1.0

Although 12.9% of the Earlham sample considered themselves far left politically when they entered Earlham in 1994, only 6.6% continue to consider themselves far left in 2004. There is also a smaller percentage who now consider themselves conservative, and a greater percentage who are middle-of-the-road. Overall Earlham alums continue to lean much more to the left politically than all 4-year private colleges and the national norm.

 

 

 

Created by Mary Ann Weaver
weavema@earlham.edu
August 31, 2005