New Tools to Measure and Improve Alumni Career Success

Alumni Pathways Innovation Update

Published on Sep 21, 2023

Updated on Nov 8, 2023

Written by Mary Claire Salmon

Alumni outcomes data helps you understand the professional and academic pathways your students take after they graduate: where they live, where they work, and most importantly, how they’re using their degree. Lightcast’s Alumni Pathways platform enables you to analyze your alumni data easily–and now, it has new capabilities to help you further support learner and institution success. 

But before we get too far, here are a couple things to keep in mind: Alumni Pathways is currently available for US customers only, and some features require your institution to be reporting data to the National Student Clearinghouse and/or IPEDS. If you have questions or want to confirm what data is available for your institution, please reach out! We're happy to help.

Education Outcomes: for Understanding Education Journeys

Through our data partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, we are now able provide insights on Alumni’s educational pathways before and after attending your institution, including transfers. This powers a new Education Outcomes report, which allows you to track and understand what further education your alumni pursue–whether it's additional degrees at your institution, or at other schools–and thus gives you actionable insights for program review and development. For instance, you might realize that many of your alumni with a BA in social work go on to pursue an MA in psychology from your competitor. This could indicate an opportunity to provide more psych courses in your social work program, or even to develop an MA in psychology of your own. 

Additionally, Education Outcomes can be used to inform alumni relations. Perhaps you notice that the majority of your alumni who work in healthcare often seek further certifications in specialized medical fields. Armed with this knowledge, you can organize targeted events or workshops in collaboration with healthcare institutions to support ongoing professional development for alumni in these areas.

An example of the Education Outcomes feature.

Career Pathways: for Understanding Career Journeys

This feature allows you to gain valuable insights into the career paths of your alumni. What was their first job after graduation? How are they using their education 5 years after graduation? How about 10 years? Do they work in their field of study, and if so for how long? Mapping these career journeys can help you improve your programs, develop new offerings, or attract new partnerships. For example, say you notice that a substantial portion of your graphic design graduates pursue careers in user experience (UX) design and digital marketing. This could reveal an opportunity to better equip your students for that emerging segment of the labor market–which could look like updating the program’s curriculum to incorporate courses on UX design principles; introducing a specialized digital design track within the graphic design program; or even partnering with digital marketing agencies to provide students with real-world experience through internships. 

Comparison: for Competitive and Regional Analysis

The Comparison report lets you compare your alumni’s outcomes to other institutions and regions–a useful benchmarking tool for informing strategic choices related to program development, program review, marketing, and competitor analysis. For instance, a community college wishing to attract more students to their computer science program could use this feature to see how their computer science graduates fare in the marketplace compared to their peers. Identifying the program’s strengths can also help the college know what to emphasize in marketing. For example, you can easily identify and then showcase the unique skills your graduates possess that differentiate them in the job market.

Alumni Trends: for Understanding Performance Over Time

This feature enables you to see how alumni outcomes and program performance are changing over time. You can use this information to evaluate whether your initiatives are impacting performance. For example, an institution that has implemented a mentorship program for alumni could use this feature to see if placement rates, employment in-field, and salary rates increased after the program roll-out. You can drill down by area or program to probe the variability in outcomes across different majors over time, which can inform career guidance conversations with your students.

Outcomes Roll-Up: for Portfolio Review and Promoting Bright Spots

The Outcomes Roll-Up feature summarizes alumni outcomes across different programs and areas at your institution, enabling you to compare and contrast graduates’ success. You can see which degrees lead to better employment rates or higher-paying jobs, and thus make informed decisions about marketing prioritization, resource allocation and program optimization. After using the feature to identify areas with strong alumni success, you can use these alumni success stories to bolster the confidence of your enrolled students, assist in marketing the program to future students, and improve stakeholder relations

Diversity Overview: for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

This feature allows you to see a snapshot of the diversity of your programs' alumni compared to alumni from peer institutions, or the current demographic makeup of the workforce. That insight is especially powerful for informing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. For example, a university using these insights for benchmarking might notice a lack of gender diversity in its engineering graduates compared to peer programs. This observation can inform strategic initiatives, such as creating scholarships that will attract more female engineering students to the program. Or if the institution sees a high racial diversity within that same program, sharing data on how the university contributes to a diverse local workforce can foster goodwill in the community and support partnerships with local organizations, improving stakeholder relations

An example of the Diversity Overview feature.

Demographic Table: for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

The Demographic Table compares and contrasts demographic details of your matched alumni in a neat, configurable table that can inform your strategic initiatives. For instance, by easily pinpointing underrepresented groups among your alumni, you can have better clarity over where to allocate resources for scholarships and outreach. You can use the Table to provide clear data to your stakeholders about the diversity of your alumni pool, or to support institutional research efforts aimed at understanding and improving the educational experience for all alumni. 

Interested in learning more? Watch our on-demand webinar on the new updates, or request more information.

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