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By the Numbers: Life after MSU

September 14, 2017

As much as students would like to think that college never ends, the reality is after 4 years changes will have to come. For the 39,090 undergraduate students present at MSU (as of Fall 2016), a time will come for all to move on to something else; whether it's graduate school, employment or anything in between.                                                                     

MSU Career Network Services releases a "Destination Survey Report" annually. These reports reveal what the previous year's graduating class has been doing in the months after graduation by surveying a pool of Spring and Summer graduates.

Everett Weber is the Data Scientist for the MSU Career Services Network and one of the authors of the report. Weber also gather sources from LinkedIn, emails and calls with parents and advisers to consolidate his data. 

“We send out a large survey to all of the graduates, often before they even graduate, and then we try and get the students to respond,” Weber said. "At some point, we look at other sources of data. ... We much prefer to have students complete the survey because then we get more information about them."

This is what last year’s survey said. 

Of the 2016 graduates, 3 in 5 are employed full time. Seventy-four percent of those with a job are working in fields related to their career, with 17 percent of the remaining indicating their position is a “stepping stone towards their ultimate career goal.” Six percent of those remaining said their job allows them to explore career options.


Weber has been gathering the data for this report for the years, and therefore has been able to observe changes in the numbers. He has seen the employment rate for newly graduated students increase.

“In general the employment rate has tended to go up,” Weber explains.  

 In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that this trend is mirrored throughout Michigan. Since 2012, overall Michigan employment has been increasing at relatively steady rate.  

However, the rate of students deciding to continue their education after graduating has fallen despite – or maybe because of – the increase in employment.

"During the 2007 recession, many students changed their plans from going directly into employment to continuing their academics; we saw the reverse of that situation in 2010 through 2014," Weber said.

“Continuing education rate, in general, has gone down although it seemed pretty stable the last few years," Weber said.

These trends might see some changes when the 2017 report is released.

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