Data: Holy Cross Grads Highly Employable, Happy

April 27th, 2016 by 


Members of the class of 2015 pose for photos following Commencement Exercises last year. Photo by: Dan Vaillancourt

Next time you’re asked the snarky question, “So, what are you going to do with that liberal arts degree, teach?,” just point to research conducted recently by the National Association of Colleges & Employers. Turns out liberal arts’ degree holders fare well in the “real world,” both in terms of the job opportunities available to them, and their starting salaries.

Graduates of the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit, exclusively undergraduate liberal arts institution, are particularly in high demand in a variety of professions and industries, ranging from accounting to utilities brokering.

Hitting the Pay Dirt, Running
According to a report compiled by the Center for Career Development at Holy Cross, the mean starting salary of its 2015 graduates was $48,455. That compares favorably to the mean starting salary that NACE reported in its survey of 2015 graduates from many different kinds of higher education institutions — including computer science and engineering schools — $50,651.

The Holy Cross study further determined that 70 percent of its 2015 graduates who responded to the survey were employed full-time within nine months of graduation, 17 percent were enrolled in full-time graduate school programs, and 8 percent were engaged in full-time service capacities, such as AmeriCorps and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Turning Internships Into Jobs
Many of the jobs landed by Holy Cross grads were gained through internships facilitated by the Center for Career Development. Of the Class of 2015 survey respondents, 68 percent reported completing an internship or research experience garnered through a specific Holy Cross resource. The Center for Career Development was responsible for 48 percent of those internship placements, followed by the Academic Internship Program (23 percent), faculty/academic departments (21 percent), Summer Research Program (20 percent), alumni networking (14 percent), Washington Semester Program (9 percent), Chaplains’ Office/Student Programs for Urban Development (5 percent), Athletics (4 percent), Student Affairs (3 percent), and Preprofessional Advising Programs (1 percent).

Lessons Well Learned
And yes, Holy Cross turns out teachers, too — proudly! The College offers a popular Teacher Education Program (as well as preprofessional advising programs in business, engineering, health professions, and law) that augments its selection of 29 academic majors. Holy Cross is known for regularly sending its graduates — 10 most recently — to the highly selective Teach for America program.

Education was tied for third along with technology as the industries employing the most Holy Cross graduates. Financial services and health care were ranked numbers one and two, respectively, with Government/Politics/Law rounding out the top five industry employers.

So, what makes Holy Cross graduates stand out? “Employers seek entry-level hires who can hit the ground running,” says Amy Murphy, director of the College’s Center for Career Development. “After four years at Holy Cross, our graduates have honed their critical thinking, oral and written communication, and leadership skills. They are collaborative, adept at working in teams, and given the College’s academic rigor, have a work ethic second to none.”

Converting IOUs to ROIs
Of course, your skeptics might counter with, “Yeah? Well, how long’s it going to take to pay back those student loans?” If you’re a Holy Cross grad, you can quiet them by responding that Holy Cross ranks number eight among all liberal arts schools nationally for the best return on investment (ROI), according to PayScale, which ranks colleges and universities weighing total cost vs. alumni earnings. That’s not all. The Brookings Institution found that a Holy Cross degree adds nearly 27 percent to an alum’s average mid-career earnings.

Aside from future earnings potential, it also helps to keep student loans as few and as low as possible —nearly two-thirds of all Holy Cross students receive some form of aid, be it financial aid, academic merit scholarships and grants, and/or work-study employment.

Clap Along, Because We’re Happy
Regardless of whether Holy Cross grads choose a business profession, go on to graduate school, or answer the Jesuit call to be “men and women for others” through service work, they are predominantly happy with their collegiate experience. Holy Cross is number seven on MoneyWatch’s list of 25 private colleges with the happiest freshmen. And, indicative of alumni’s contentment with their college choice, Holy Cross is number nine on U.S. News & World Report’s national ranking of liberal arts colleges with the highest giving rate — routinely more than 50-percent participation annually.

The fact that the Smiley Face was invented in Worcester, Mass. — home of the College of the Holy Cross — may only be a happy coincidence.

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