As the Class of 2019 prepares for commencement Sunday, May 19, many graduating students have the next stop on their journey top of mind. With the recent release of the First Destination Survey for the Case Western Reserve University undergraduate Class of 2018, looking at where last year’s graduates landed after commencement may provide a preview of what’s in store.

Collected by Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education, information in the report reflects the placement for 79% of the more than 1,100 graduates. Data was collected through surveys sent to members of the Class of 2018, social media and conversations with faculty.

Of those for which data was collected, 54% are employed full time and 36% went to graduate or professional school, while 6% are still available for employment and 4% were pursuing other opportunities. For the second year in a row, the class has exceeded 50% employed, as the Class of 2017 was at 53%.

“If our students are like most people, they’re going to work for the next 45 to 50 years, so it’s far from a final destination—it’s a launching point,” said Robin Hedges, senior associate director of career education. “It’s part of what makes it all so exciting.”

This year’s First Destination Survey was released as a series of infographics; Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education and Institutional Research are working on ways to make additional data easier for individuals to search, compare and sort.


While the majority of those employed remained in Ohio (215), other top states for graduates included California (28), Massachusetts (26) and Wisconsin (25).

The highest percentage of graduates in the workforce is in the engineering field (37%), followed by nursing (11%), research (10%) and financial services (6%).

Of those employed, 95% are in a position that requires a bachelor’s degree, while 79% are in a role that both requires a degree and was related to the graduate’s major.

In total, members of the Class of 2018 went on to work at 317 different employers, with 61 hiring more than one member of the class.

Some of the companies employing multiple members of the Class of 2018 were:

  • Accenture
  • Amazon
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • Epic
  • General Electric
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Lockheed Martin
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Teach For America
  • University Hospitals

“One of the things I think is so remarkable when I look at the data is around the diversity of employers for those going to full-time employment,” Hedges said. “I think that really speaks to the diverse interests of the student body.”

Graduates reported a median starting salary range of $55,000-$59,999.

Continued education

Again this year, some graduates opted to remain at Case Western Reserve to work toward another degree. Hedges attributed this to specific programs that allow students to complete a master’s degree in just one year after completing their bachelor’s degree.

In addition to CWRU, other top graduate schools the Class of 2018 attended are:

  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Harvard University
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California

Of those who went on to earn a higher degree, 53% opted to go for a master’s degree, 15 percent are working toward an MD/DO, 15% are in a PhD program, 8% went to law school, 4% are in a DDA/DMD program and 5% are in other programs.

Experiential learning

Many students engaged in experiential learning while on campus, with:

  • 83% in research or creative endeavors;
  • 60% working at an internship;
  • 48% participating in community service; and
  • 31% completing a study abroad program.

To see the First Destination Study results, visit the Student Affairs website.