Nationally, the class of 2010 yielded 2.4 million new college graduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
These new graduates have to compete with furloughed workers, needy retirees and still-unemployed graduates from 2008 and 2009. Unemployment rates among college graduates under the age of 25 rose from 6.8 percent in 2009 to nearly 8 percent in 2010, as reported in a recent study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Additionally, many students nationally are struggling to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years. In April 2010, the National Center of Education Statistics released data indicating that only 57 percent of students entering college in 2001 completed a four-year degree within six years or less.
This is the environment that recent Allegheny graduates are entering into.
Statistically, Allegheny students have measured up favorably in comparison with national results. On average, 92 percent of Allegheny graduates entering the work force are employed within eight months, according to data provided by the college to prospective students. Moreover, 92 percent of students also complete their respective degrees within four years and 80 to 100 percent of those entering graduate school are admitted.
“I would proudly compare the accomplishments of our graduates with that of any school in the country,” said Director of Alumni Affairs Phil Foxman.
“We may not have as many celebrities as other institutions, but Allegheny graduates make a difference in their workplace, their communities and around the world,” said Lloyd Segan, creator of the television show Greek and 1980 Allegheny graduate. “They know how to communicate effectively, solve complex problems, collaborate with others, they work hard and understand the importance of service, community and giving back.”
According to the Allegheny College Center for Experiential Learning [ACCEL], 45 percent of 2010 alumni attended graduate school while another 45 percent directly entered the workforce. The remaining 10 percent entered some sort of long-term service opportunity such as Teach for America, Peace Corps, or City Year.
Ray Smith, ’10, was able to find a job in his desired field through sheer persistence.
“I applied to about 100 newspapers,” he said. “It gets frustrating to send out 100 packets of your work and resume and most of the time you don’t hear anything back, but if you keep trying, eventually you hear something.”
Smith now works as a reporter for the Hoboken Reporter in New Jersey.
Other 2010 graduates, such as Ryan Cole, have remained closer to the Allegheny community.
Cole holds a position on campus in the Allegheny Office of Community Service as the Davies Program Coordinator. His work is a continuation of his involvement with Meadville during his years as a student.
“[My current job] offers me a good opportunity to let me grow in the direction of my future career, and I’m grateful that the college offered it,” he said.
The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs works with recent alumni under the motto “serve, engage and inspire to act.” The office keeps a large database of graduates and attempts to maintain contact with as many graduates as possible. Of the college’s 20,558 living alumni, the office reports to have lost contact with only 500.
“We have invited the class of 2010 to return for a gathering during Homecoming in October, and this fall we have regional alumni gatherings scheduled in Jamestown, New York City, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, where we hope to see many recent graduates,” Foxman said.