Our Survey Says

Results from the College of Creative Studies’ Spring 2016 Alumni Survey

Ever wonder what CCS alumni do post-graduation? Well now you can find out! Last spring the College of Creative Studies conducted an alumni survey to learn more about its alumni base. Alumni were asked about their time as students in the College and their accomplishments in their post-grad life. The survey included multiple choice, scale, and short answer questions. Respondents were not required to answer every question.

The survey was distributed to alumni via email and was posted on the College’s website. Of the 1,018 alumni emailed, 360 (36 percent) opened the email and 172 (48 percent of the opens) clicked the survey’s link. In total, 188 alumni responded to the survey. Please note that the below statistics and graphs are based on these 188 responses and therefore may not be representative of the alumni population as a whole.

The “Graduate School for Undergraduates” is happy to report that roughly 75 percent of respondents indicated they attended, or are currently attending, graduate school (Fig. 1). The highest level of education of survey respondents is shown in Figure 2. The discrepancy between the 62.1 percent of respondents who stated their highest level of education as either a Master’s or Doctorate degree and the 74.2 graduate school attendance rate is due to alumni who are currently still in graduate school or did not complete their degree.

Considering roughly one-third of nation-wide college graduates (U.S. Census Bureau report in 2015 [1]) go on to receive a graduate degree, CCS alumni are about twice as likely to go on to receive postgraduate degrees than other college graduates. If graduate school sparks your interest, CCS is the place to be.

Due to the unique hands-on educational experience the College offers, CCS graduates attend some of the most prestigious graduate schools in the country. The UC system boasted four out of the top five most attended graduate schools by CCS alumni. UCSB led the way with 28—19 more than any other university. UCLA (9), Stanford (7), UC Davis (7) and UC Berkley (6) rounded out the top 5. Other notable graduate school institutions included California College of the Arts (6), California Institute of Technology (4), Cornell (3), MIT (3), USC (3), Harvard (2), and Cambridge (2).

About one-fourth of CCS graduates indicated a Doctorate degree or equivalent as their highest level of education (Fig.2). This is over four and a half times higher than the nation-wide average, ~5.5 percent, for college graduates who pursue this level of education (U.S. Census Bureau data in 2011 [2]).

Of alumni who received graduate degrees, a plurality received master’s degrees (37 percent). About 24 percent earned PhDs, while 20 percent acquired two or more graduate degrees. Note that about 14 percent of respondents did not specify what graduate degree they obtained and that these numbers include survey respondents whose graduate degrees are still in progress (Fig. 3). One of the most impressive statistics is the graduate school preparation CCS students receive, a trait that the College has prided itself on for decades. Approximately 98 percent of respondents who attended graduate school said they believed CCS prepared them well for their graduate school education. Of the remaining two percent, three respondents did not believe that CCS prepared them for graduate school, and two respondents indicated that it was not applicable (Fig. 4).

The survey also asked alumni to rate overall satisfaction of their CCS education on a scale of 1-10. The average score given was 9.13, the median score was 9, and the mode was 10. Furthermore, 94 percent of alumni who answered this question rated their CCS education at an 8 out of 10 or above (Fig. 5).

A common sentiment among nation-wide college graduates is that many people do not work in a field related to their degree. This idea is backed up by Federal Bank of New York data from 2013 [3], which indicated that only 27 percent of college graduates worked in a field that closely related to their major. However, this is not the case for CCS graduates. According to the survey, just over three fourths of CCS alumni currently work in a profession related to their CCS degree (Fig. 6). Furthermore, approximately 93 percent of alumni indicated they were generally satisfied with their academic/professional situation (Fig. 7).

The College of Creative Studies is using this information to help assess the effectiveness of its curriculum and advising and appreciates the input. The College would love to hear from more alumni – keep in touch!

If you have any questions about the survey and/or any of the data, please feel free to email Will Proctor, CCS’ Communications and Development Associate, at will.proctor@ccs.ucsb.edu.