In the days leading up to graduation this past May, many futures were still undetermined. It’s always a struggle for recent grads to find employment within today’s job market, right? Fortunately, I have learned that within the past few months a majority of my peers have landed jobs or obtained graduate study positions. So what happened to the challenge that graduates are expected to encounter?
By the numbers, 97% of Lehigh graduates are employed or attending graduate school within just six months of graduation. Let’s compare this statistic to that of Lafayette College, where only 85% of graduates find success within six months of the job search. Although we all know Lehigh is the ubiquitously superior institution, Lafayette does indeed provide their students with a quality education, as do many other schools throughout the nation. Nationally, nearly 10% of recent college grads remain unemployed, based on findings from the Economic Policy Institute. Somehow Lehigh has found a way to beat this statistic.
Let’s explore how our alma mater manages to produce such successful graduates.
One huge contributor to this statistic is the fact that nearly 1300 undergrads participate in research at Lehigh every year. By allowing students to take part in high-level, momentous research, Lehigh is creating a system in which students acquire the tools they need to solve some of today’s toughest challenges. Students studying anything from Mechanical Engineering to Economics to Earth and Environmental Science to Biology have the opportunity to increase our understanding of the world, and to figure out ways by which we can improve it. With the help of an adviser, students learn how to identify unanswered questions, design experiments, analyze data, and overcome obstacles to achieve results that have never been obtained before.
Lehigh also boasts a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, which may also be a major contributor to generating successful students. Because classes are smaller, students have the opportunity to build strong relationships with faculty. Letters of recommendation are one of the most important components to any application, and the opportunity to get to know your professors only makes those letters more meaningful. I remain close with a few of the faculty members in the Earth and Environmental Science department, and I know that these connections can only help me in the future.
Maybe post-graduate success has no dependence on those previous numbers. Maybe the more significant contributor to success in the professional world is everything outside of academia that Lehigh offers its students: Greek life, athletics, distinguished speakers, world travel, arts and music at Zoellner, the oldest rivalry in college sports, and so much more. Lehigh fosters an environment in which students learn to challenge each other, to be leaders, to be globally aware, to be innovative, and to have fun. In a setting like this it sounds difficult not to succeed. I owe Lehigh for providing me a foundation for success, as I am sure all of you do as well.
Why do you think Lehigh graduates are so desirable to employers?
For more statistics: Lehigh at a Glance