For a Better Tomorrow: How Cornerstone's Job Outcomes Demonstrate the Value of a Christian College Education

By Anne Gaertner on November 20, 2018

As a liberal arts institution, Cornerstone University is focused on equipping students with skills and experiences to meet employer and societal needs of the 21st century. We're proud to say that 94% of our 2017 traditional undergraduate students were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

We tend to refer to this statistic often. Our student outcomes help demonstrate the value of a Christian college education, but it only tells one part of our vibrant story in which we're developing influencers for Christ.

To understand the impact of our job outcomes statistic and take a pulse of how our graduates think about their employment situations, let's dig deeper into the data behind the number.

Distilling the First Destination Survey

The first destination survey at Cornerstone aligns with data collection standards set forth by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The survey seeks to provide a snapshot of what students are doing after graduating from college.

Based on the survey, here's how we define the criteria for terms such as employment and continuing education.

  • Employed full time is generally defined as a position in which the graduate works for 30 hours or more per week. In recognition of the diverse nature of employment, there are a number of important sub-categories defining employment:
    • Employed as an entrepreneur.
    • Employed in a temporary/contract work assignment.
    • Employed freelance.
    • Employed in a postgraduate internship or fellowship.
    • Employed in all other work categories.
  • Continuing education is defined as a status in which someone has been accepted to and plans to matriculate into a program of further study. This includes graduate school or other specialized training.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Student Outcomes

For perspective on how our college students feel about their first professional roles after graduation, we track data points such as annual salary, whether a student's first job is in the same area of study as their major and if alumni express interest in their work.

Based on the responses submitted by 182 of our 193 traditional undergraduate alumni from the class of 2017, here are answers to frequently asked questions about our overall job outcomes statistic.

What is the annual salary of a CU graduate?

The class of 2017 data shows an annual average salary of $39,373. As a Christ-centered university, many of our alumni go into ministry and nonprofit professions, which historically make significantly less compared to other business categories.

Do alumni find job positions related to their field of study at Cornerstone?

At Cornerstone, 80% of graduates hold a position related to their field of study.

Given the fast-paced and ever-changing marketplace, professionals are constantly utilizing their undergraduate academic training and related skills outside their major. For example, a student entering graduate school for occupational therapy can do so regardless of their undergraduate major as long as the program's pre-requisites are complete.

Are alumni genuinely interested in their work and/or continuing education?

This isn't a standard question on NACE's first destination survey, but we took the opportunity to ask graduates about their interests.

After all, wouldn't it be better to be genuinely enthusiastic about what you're doing even if it wasn't related to your major? Would you rather follow a vocational path that's not interesting but simply mirrored what you studied in college? Or, would you rather take your intentional experiences as a student to shape your vocational journey toward an industry of specific interest?

Of the responses we tallied, 94% of Cornerstone graduates are genuinely interested in their work or post-graduate employment. Our graduates are flourishing and thriving in their vocations, and we can't get enough of hearing and sharing their stories of influence for Christ's kingdom.

Conclusion

We hold our students' personal callings in high regard and walk alongside them in the process of nurturing their God-given gifts. This commitment prepares CU graduates to enter their vocations with energy, fresh ideas and knowledge of who they are as individuals.

Right now, we are working to compile data from our class of 2018 and look forward to making the results available soon.

The Center for Career & Life Calling team wants you to be fully confident that your investment in a Christian college education at Cornerstone is worth it. If you have additional questions about how we prepare students for successful outcomes, feel free to email us. We'd be glad to continue the conversation with you.

Categories: Choosing a Major, For Parents