Great jobs, great lives: Virginia Tech alumni thrive, according to Gallup survey

vtech-logoVirginia Tech graduates outpace the national average when it comes to thriving at work, having great careers, and leading lives that matter. Results from a research collaboration with Gallup indicate that Virginia Tech alumni flourish in all five elements of well-being, outpacing the national average and peer institutions.

Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands cites the university’s commitment to integrative learning, which bridges formal education and everyday experience. “It’s not surprising our alumni are thriving,” Sands said. “At Virginia Tech there are no boundaries between classroom and life. Each involvement a student has contributes to the continuum of learning. The Virginia Tech experience prepares our graduates for success in all aspects of living.”

The research conducted by Gallup interviewed nearly 14,000 Virginia Tech alumni who received bachelor’s degrees after 1950. It compared results with findings from colleges and universities across the country.

Virginia Tech alumni are more likely than the national college graduate comparison group as well as graduates in peer institution and research university cohorts to be thriving in every element of well-being. Gallup defines the five elements as purpose, social, financial, community, and physical well-being. Sixteen percent of Virginia Tech graduates are thriving in all five areas, compared with the national average of 10 percent among college graduates. The survey was developed to create an index that examines long-term success of graduates as they pursue a good job and a better life.

In addition to great jobs and high measures of well-being, the Gallup findings illustrate that Virginia Tech graduates have an extraordinary connection to the university. Alumni attachment is more than two times higher than the national average. More than 40 percent of Virginia Tech alumni feel emotionally attached to their alma mater, compared with the national average of 18 percent.

“I have never seen a deeper, more lasting relationship than the one that exists between our graduates and the institution,” said Vice President for Advancement Charles Phlegar. “Virginia Tech alumni have a lifelong passion for this university.”

The likelihood of alumni feeling emotionally attached to their school is much higher when they feel it prepared them well for life outside of college. More than half of those surveyed said Virginia Tech was the perfect school for them.

Other highlights of the Gallup survey include:

  • Two-thirds of Virginia Tech graduates work full time for an employer, higher than the national average of 58 percent.
  • Hokies are very unlikely to be unemployed. Only one percent report they are unemployed and looking for work.
  • Employed Virginia Tech alumni are also more likely to be engaged at work. Nearly half report they are engaged in the workplace, compared with 39 percent of all college graduates nationally.
  • Alumni who participated in co-curricular activities are more than twice as likely to score as emotionally attached to the university.
  • Not surprisingly, Virginia Tech alumni embrace the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). While Ut Prosim stands for more than volunteerism, those who volunteer their time are more likely to thrive in all five elements of well-being. For graduates who volunteer more than 20 hours per week, 23 percent are thriving in all five elements of well-being.

“The Gallup study reinforces what we know from the scholarship of learning – that education is about the development of the whole student which happens both in and out of the classroom,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo. “A quality education encompasses opportunities for personal development, hands-on experiences, the care of a mentor, developing meaningful relationships and more.”

An additional Gallup survey of current Virginia Tech students points to prospects for development at Virginia Tech, especially in providing more opportunities for internships and mentoring. Virginia Tech students are not finding mentors who encourage them to pursue their goals and dreams until their senior year. They also engage in internships less frequently than the university would like.

“We plan to do everything we can to expand internship opportunities for our students because the impact of experiential learning on future success cannot be overstated,” Sands said. “Internships build confidence, open doors and raise ceilings. We want every Virginia Tech undergraduate student to have the opportunity to participate in a relevant internship or undergraduate research experience, and we are committed to fostering mentoring relationships for all of our students.”

The complete report is available online. Further Gallup findings regarding current Virginia Tech students will be available in the coming days.

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