Alumni Outcomes

Though the College collects information about our alumni from a range of sources for our Alumni Records database, we also routinely ask about current activities on our COFHE Alumni Survey (managaed by the IR office). The most recent survey was conducted in 2013, and a summary of the employment and education outcomes was prepared.   The summary is available here;  below is an overview.

Alumni Survey 2013:   Outcomes
Employment and Pursuit of Advanced Degrees


  • In spring 2013 the College surveyed alumni from the classes of 1994, 1998, 2002, 2008, and 2012, asking them to reflect on many aspects of their college experience, and how it may have impacted current activities.   (The response rate was about 53%.)  This report focuses on the employment and advanced education outcomes of these alumni based on the survey.
  • About two-thirds of our graduates (68%, across the cross-section of classes) are working full-time, with an additional 12% working part-time.   The unemployment rate (unemployed and seeking a position) for these graduates is 2.6%, below the national average (for individuals with a Bachelor's degree or higher) of 3.9% at the time of the survey.[1]   
  • Chart of Alumni Activities

  •  Consistent with our liberal arts mission, over a third of graduates (37%) are working in fields unrelated to their undergraduate majors, the same proportion work in fields related to their major, and a quarter (26%) are working in the field of their major.
  • Most often, those alumni not currently employed are pursuing further education (12%).   
  • The rates at which Swarthmore graduates earn advanced degrees are very high.   About three-quarters of those who graduated five years ago (Class of 2008) had either earned or were currently enrolled in a graduate degree program - and the rate was higher with each of the older classes surveyed, to a high of 90% of the Class of 1994.   Across all classes (excluding 2012), 27% of the graduates had earned doctorates or were enrolled in doctoral programs at the time of the survey. 
  • While a slight majority of those doctorate earners who were employed full-time work in academia, many (45%) do not.
  • Graduates work in a range of occupations, with the largest categories being scientists (18%, including six categories of scientists), teachers (13%), lawyers or judges (7%), college faculty (6%), and physicians (6%).    

[1] Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age, April 2013, Bureau of Labor Statistic.