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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

February 8, 2002

Report Details Postgraduate Educational and Career Paths of Young Alumnae

Where do our students go from here? While figures vary slightly somewhat from year to year, approximately 27 percent of each Mount Holyoke graduating class over recent years has continued on directly to graduate and professional degree programs. A significant number of young alumnae also wait before matriculating into graduate programs. Within five years of graduating, 40 percent of alumnae have entered graduate programs. At ten years out, two-thirds of graduates have matriculated into postbaccalaureate, graduate, or professional programs. At the same time, of those graduates not going on to graduate school, nearly all find employment soon after graduation.

Information concerning alumnae career and postgraduate education trends, including an intensive study of the class of 2000, has been compiled recently by the Career Development Center (CDC) and provides new insight into both how alumnae are shaping their lives and how effectively Mount Holyoke is preparing its students for success and purposeful engagement with the world. Drawn from an extensive compilation of longitudinal data regarding students and alumnae trends, the study, "Uncommon Women in Action: Mount Holyoke College Student and Alumnae Outcomes," provides a quick portrait of the post-Mount Holyoke choices of alumnae.

"Mount Holyoke's commitment to educating women who have developed the ability for critical thought, for leadership, and for communicating themselves powerfully in a global and technologically advanced environment is clearly paving the way for the ongoing success of our alumnae," observes CDC director Scott C. Brown, noting that the outcomes study was informed by the collaboration of the CDC, the enrollment division, and the Alumnae Association. "This report demonstrates that, across the board, our students are taking advantage of superb opportunities."

For example: since 1991, the three institutions into which the largest number of MHC alumnae have matriculated have been Columbia, Harvard, and New York University. Other top choices for Mount Holyoke alumnae are Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley. In recent years, Mount Holyoke has also seen increasing interest in graduate schools overseas. For example, students from the class of 2000 are now studying at institutions such as the London School of Economics, the University of Bonn, and Sofia University.

Other trends revealed by the new CDC report include the following: Between 1998 and 2000, 60 percent of Mount Holyoke students applying to medical school were accepted, compared to a national medical school acceptance rate of 43 percent. (Mount Holyoke's Committee on Health Professions supports the candidacy of all eligible students, unlike many top schools, which set a grade point requirement on institutional support.) The medical schools into which the largest numbers of our alumnae have matriculated include Dartmouth, Georgetown, the University of Rochester, and Tufts.

Of the 27 percent of graduates from the class of 2000 going on to postgraduate study, 7 percent have gone to medical school. Appro-ximately 11 percent of all graduate school attendees from classes since 1991 have gone to medical school. At the same time, approximately 12 percent of graduates between 1991 and 2000 have gone on to law school. And more than 6 percent of graduates between 1991 and 1995 went on to business or other professional school programs.

Mount Holyoke women can be found in almost every field. Among top career choices for graduates who graduated between five and ten years ago, 11.4 percent have gone into fields associated with communications and technology; 17.1 percent have gone into education (including teaching and administration at all levels); 11 percent into finance or business; and 13.6 percent into science or medicine. More recent graduates have followed similar trends. The CDC report also details that office's success in coordinating with recruiters from the corporate and not-for-profit sectors and bringing them to campus.

The report demonstrates that the CDC has made increasingly successful use of internships. For example, last summer, more than 160 students had summer internships at leading businesses and in government, as well as in nonprofit and cultural organizations, while 110 students participated in January Internships in similar settings. In addition, the CDC has seen growing success in coordinating international internships. From 1998 to 2000, Mount Holyoke students have worked in 127 international organizations in forty-eight countries outside the United States.

Finally, according to the report, MHC students and recent graduates have been highly successful in securing major fellowships and scholarships, often with the assistance of the CDC. From 1991 to 2001, Mount Holyoke students and alumnae have garnered nineteen Fulbright grants, sixteen Goldwater Scholarships, one Rhodes Scholarship, three National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and numerous other prestigious awards.

To learn more about the Career Development Center, visit

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