6 Ways to Use Alumni Outcomes Data

Published on Aug 28, 2023

Updated on Nov 29, 2023

Written by Remie Verougstraete

What is alumni outcomes data and where do you find it?

  • Alumni outcomes data is any information that reveals how your graduates use their education when they enter the post-college world of work. Do they stay in state or migrate? Are they working in a field related to their degree? Who employs them and what roles do they fill?

  • Lightcast’s Alumni Pathways platform makes it easy to answer these questions by matching your student records up against our database of over 120 million individual career profiles.

  • Getting this information is just the beginning. Once you have it, you can use outcomes data to enhance programs, boost enrollment, prove institutional value, and more. Continue reading to learn how.

Top six ways to use alumni outcomes data

“It’s interesting information, but what do we do with it?”

When it comes to alumni outcomes data, this is the question many institutions face. Is it merely nice-to-know information? Or can it help move the needle on mission-critical priorities?

To help answer this question, we previously looked at three reasons why institutions should prioritize robust alumni outcomes data. Today, we’re focusing on how institutions can put this data to work. So, we went to the experts.

After providing employment outcomes data to hundreds of colleges and universities, Lightcast's Alumni Pathways team has had a front row seat to the impact this data can have. We asked them to share some of the most effective ways they’ve seen institutions leverage outcomes data.

For your inspiration, here are the top six.

Track alumni outcomes

from college to career

Explore Alumni Pathways

1) Use outcomes data to engage your alumni

This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth highlighting. That’s because a little analysis goes a long way when it comes to using outcomes data to inform engagement. For example, with the right data, institutions can reconnect with grads working in key industries, companies, or roles. This can lead to alumni participation in program advisory boards or advocacy for capital campaigns. Data on alumni occupations can help you recruit successful grads willing to help current students get a leg up on career networking. These are just a few of the ways that outcomes data can help you discover and connect with alumni who are ready to give back.

2) Leverage alumni career outcomes in your enrollment marketing campaigns

You’re not the only one who wants to know what your students do after they graduate. Prospective students and parents are keenly interested in knowing the employment outcomes they can expect from your programs. Use this interest to your advantage by equipping your enrollment marketing team with reliable alumni employment data (we have a tool called GoRecruit that makes this even easier!). Identify the data points that best highlight your value and share them via social media, emails, or embedded right onto your program pages. No matter how you do it, outcomes data is a powerful way to show prospects the real-world value of a degree from your institution. 

Mockup of GoRecruit

GoRecruit makes it easy to customize and share outcomes data from Alumni Pathways.

3) Use insight into alumni career pathways to inform program review and development

It’s always good to begin with the end in mind. Once you know where graduates are ending up, you can work backwards by adjusting curriculum to better facilitate common career pathways. You can also identify programs where graduates are under-employed, and use this insight to prioritize program review efforts. Or, you may discover graduates applying their education in unexpected roles and industries. These insights can help inform new programs or new tracks within existing programs. 

4) Use outcome data to engage stakeholders, support accreditation, and secure funding

From accrediting bodies to grant-making agencies, it’s increasingly common for stakeholders to want evidence that your programs lead to positive employment outcomes. Furthermore, foundations, corporations, and private donors all want to know that their dollars will make a difference. Alumni data at the college, department, and program level can enable you to demonstrate your value and secure the external support you need to grow your impact.

We recently spoke with Cathy Copeland at Lake Washington Technical

For example, Cathy Copeland of Lake Washington Technical Institute shared how her team uses alumni career outcomes to support National Science Foundation grant applications, and to inform faculty who want to know where their former students end up (watch a clip below, or catch the full recording here).

5) Use evidence of student success to engage local employers

Employers want talent, and they’re often eager to work with institutions who can demonstrate their ability to provide high-skill, high-quality workers. With data on top alumni employers and job titles, you can approach businesses with proof in hand that your institution is already contributing to their success. Moreover, knowing where your alumni work and in what kind of role can help you identify new businesses to engage, as well as opportunities to expand existing partnerships.

6) Enhance academic and career advising with information on past students' college-to-career pathways

Students often don’t realize the full breadth of opportunities their education opens for them. While O*NET can provide theoretical program-to-occupation connections, outcomes data shows the actual pathways your past students have taken from college to career. Use this data to broaden students’ horizons and give them confidence that they are on the right track. Even better, use this data to connect with alumni in relevant jobs or industries who can offer personal insight and advice to current students.

alumni pathways sankey showing career pathways of business alumni

The Alumni Pathways platform makes it easy to visualize your students' career outcomes, by program.

Alumni outcomes data case studies

Here are a few real-world examples of how institutions are using alumni data to serve their students and grow their impact:

Coastline College

  • Coastline College in Fountain Valley, CA is integrating alumni outcomes data into Tableau dashboards that inform program review as well as academic and career advising. The data has also helped identify equity gaps between different economic groups that the college can help to close.

University of New Mexico

  • The University of New Mexico used alumni data to enhance their student advising services, empower faculty, and strengthen employer partnerships. See Dr. Jenna Crabb’s (Director of Career Services) presentation on how alumni data helps her serve her institution and their students.

Widener University

  • Widener University in Chester, PA uses alumni data to identify common alumni career paths, and uses that information to inform program development and review.

Southern New Hampshire University

Montgomery College

  • Montgomery College in Rockville, MD has used alumni data to expand employer partnerships, understand their alumni’s impact, and engage prospective students.

If you have questions or would like to see how you can discover your students' career outcomes, please contact us! We’d love to learn about the work you’re doing and explore our how our data can help.

Ready to see how Alumni Pathways can work for you? Schedule a demo: