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97% of Wheaton Class of 2020 Lands Jobs or Graduate Education During Global Pandemic

June 29, 2021

Wheaton College Center for Vocation and Career assists and enhances student prospects   

CVC Outcomes Report 280x380As the COVID-19 pandemic surged around the globe in the summer of 2020, entry-level job offers and internships were likewise swept away for many. However, a recent Center for Vocation and Career (CVC) survey shows the vast majority of Wheaton College’s Class of 2020 did not miss a step.  

Data experts at Wheaton College’s Center for Vocation and Career crunched the numbers and found that nearly 97% of 2020’s graduates had “landed”—were employed or enrolled in graduate school—within six months of graduation.

“When compared to the pre-pandemic national average of 86%, as published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Wheaton’s 97% landed rate is even more impressive,” said CVC Director Dee Pierce. “To achieve a near 100 % landed rate amid the pandemic was extremely good news for us.”

Nearly 20% of 2020 graduates landed roles in the business or professional services sector, with 15% finding jobs in K-12 education. Large numbers of graduates also found work in healthcare, non-profits, financial services, religious services, and graduate programs at institutions ranging from Yale University to the Duke School of Divinity. 

Dee Pierce 253x380Pierce attributes this high landed rate, in large part, to Wheaton’s high-caliber students, the College’s strong liberal arts education, and the CVC’s programs and resources.  

2020 graduate Liz George, who double-majored in English Writing and Economics, found a job as a financial analyst at Amazon. 

“At Wheaton, I found that I was able to see the beauty of math in my Economics classes, and I learned more about the depth of the human experience in my English classes,” she said. “At Amazon, I am now constantly communicating across teams. A liberal arts education really hones your communication skills, and that’s the top skill I use.”  

Philip Kwong, who also graduated in 2020, had to practice resiliency when he found that none of the companies he’d previously wanted to work for after graduation were hiring. Eventually, Kwong, a Christian Formation & Ministry major at Wheaton, found a business development role with a San Francisco-based online platform operating in more than 7,500 cities across the United States and around the world.   

“Wheaton helped me figure out who I am and what I am good at,” he said. “I was able to take that and use it for my career.”

The CVC also discovered that several new programs, including a “Career Communities” initiative—aided the graduates in finding internships and jobs post-graduation.

“As we saw job offers rescinded and internships disappear for so many of our students in the Summer of 2020, we knew we had to make some significant changes to our summer plans to address the gaps that we saw occurring,” Pierce said.

To help students network during the pandemic, the CVC created six Career Communities, grouping graduates with Wheaton alumni who were in the same industry, from law to education. 

More than 100 students met with 38 alumni throughout the summer tackling topics, such as resumes, ramping up work skills, and hiring timelines. The mentorship program was also invaluable as a networking opportunity during a period of time when in-person networking couldn’t happen.

“As always, our alumni generously shared their wisdom and insight all while being a strong resource for the students,” Pierce said.

The CVC is already at work with the newly graduated Wheaton Class of 2021 students connecting them to alumni in Career Communities, and Pierce is cautiously hopeful as they start their research for 2021’s landed rate that they’ll find similar results.

“We’re thrilled that our students are continuing to flourish as Christ-followers in a wide range of vocations, developing their skills and growing in their faith, despite these tumultuous times,” Pierce said.

--Emily Bratcher

CVC's Class of 2020 Annual Report
Learn more about the CVC