Eau Claire (WQOW) - A recently released survey showed Wisconsin college students are moving quickly from graduation to a career or continued education.
The survey said six months after graduation, 96 percent of UW-Eau Claire's most recent graduates reported having jobs in their field or enrolling in graduate programs. UW-Eau Claire said that number is up from 94 percent in the past couple of years.
UW-Stout said it has a 97 percent rate, which is also gradually increasing. Based on a similar survey, UW-Madison said it matches UW-Eau Claire's job and continuing education rate at 96 percent.
UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt said he was not surprised to see that UW-Eau Claire's student success rate is increasing. He credited the college's broad, liberal education, which he said helps students develop critical thinking, writing and speaking skills. For example, Schmidt said philosophy has a 100 percent placement rate because their critical thinking can help any type of business solve problems.
"Students in the 21st century need to be prepared to be able to shift careers, shift jobs, and be creative," Schmidt said. "The new economy that we've seen places a value on student's adaptability and the ability to grow with a company and the ability to think creatively about where that next business might be coming from. I think the data is very clear. Our Blugolds are successful."
UW-Eau Claire also credited its emphasis on high-impact experiences that take place outside the classroom. The university's goal is to have all students participate in two high-impact experiences before they graduate.
"Whether it is in the classroom or outside of the classroom, in some of those experiences like student-faculty research, some of those immersion trips that we offer, study abroad, internships, even students going part-time jobs and some of those student activities, they learn a lot of skills that help them be successful after graduation," said Staci Heidtke, assistant director of Career Services at UW-Eau Claire.
Heidtke said nearly 70 percent of 2016's graduates had a job before graduation. That number is up from 2012-2013 when it was 55 percent. She said internships have helped find employment. Schmidt said more than 60 percent of 2016's graduates had at least one internship, and many of them had up to three internships.
Previous survey results can be found online.