How Lightcast Clients Use Alumni Outcomes Data

Published on May 25, 2021

Updated on Jul 3, 2023

Written by Anne Peasley

What we learn from working with hundreds of colleges and universities on Alumni Pathways projects, is that our clients come to us for trustworthy data.

(And trustworthy data is the foundation of actionable, data-informed decisions.)

Typical methods of gathering alumni data, such as surveys, don’t always inspire confidence. Two challenges plague these methods: low response rates and lack of comprehensive methodology.

Alumni Pathways provides a solution

  1. It’s not a survey, so you’re no longer at the mercy of your response rate.

  2. Our comprehensive alumni match applies consistently across all students and disciplines. 

“It can be difficult to get a good response with alumni surveys,” says a director of enrollment analytics at a four-year university. “The Lightcast match was more than triple the rate I will often get.”

With a higher match rate than most alumni surveys, Alumni Pathways produces a proportionally larger sample size. And because there’s a single, consistent method for collecting the data, this sample can be more reliably used as a predictor for the whole.

Another senior planning and policy analyst told us, “Our president’s office was really hesitant to use data from our alumni surveys to quantify the number of graduates who stay in the college’s service area. Lightcast’s more comprehensive data provided us with the confidence to stand behind that figure.”

When you can trust the data, it becomes a solid foundation for strategic decisions

In fact, many Lightcast clients have used their alumni outcomes data as the starting point for a number of internal and external initiatives.

Here are some real-life examples:

Program review

At a public two-year college on the west coast, sharing outcomes data with career education advisory boards helps inform conversations around program changes. Real outcomes data coupled with board members’ industry knowledge creates a powerful source of information as they identify the best opportunities for students.

In addition, the college created publicly available Tableau dashboards which allow users to explore and filter the data by various demographic groups such as gender and ethnicity. This allows the college to critically analyze equity initiatives and determine if there are any disparities they can address. 


Employer engagement

The alumni association at a public research university in the southwest teamed up with the foundation to create downloadable alumni profiles and lists of top companies to inform strategic outreach initiatives. By running company-specific reports, they give the university’s employer partners insight into their talent pipeline which can inform future on-campus recruiting efforts.


Grant writing and fundraising

At a public two-year college on the west coast, data helped identify opportunities within various industries (e.g., cybersecurity) and supported the development of grant proposals for the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF grant was successfully funded, and the project is underway.


Academic and career advising

Alumni Pathways data is part of a unified advising model at a private research university on the east coast, where all incoming students are paired with both an academic and a career advisor from their first term on campus. These advisors are then poised to help students navigate curricular decisions, seek out internships and experiential learning opportunities, and other career-oriented activities through a system of consistent support.


Marketing and recruitment

At a two-day STEM conference for high school and other pre-admission students, a public two-year college on the east coast used Career Coach to showcase how its programs train for quality jobs in the region, and Alumni Pathways data to prove that graduates are being hired for those jobs. The goal is to boost enrollment by helping prospective students understand their potential career outcomes even before they step foot in a classroom.


Ready to ditch alumni surveys?  Request an alumni overview report (for FREE) to get a sample of our alumni employment pathways data.

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