Posted November 21, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion
 
 

What Evergreen Alumni Say About Their Educational Experience 5 to 15 Years Later


by Shira Moch

Alumni are letting us know how they feel about their time here at Evergreen… and they have had time to reflect. The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment here on campus just put out a report of the 5, 10, and 15-year undergraduate alumni survey they administered in 2012. As a student, and especially as a senior graduating this year, I found their commentary to be very informative in regard to life after Evergreen. Here are some brief points I think most of you will identify with or find interesting, whether you are just starting your time here at Evergreen or finishing up.

Are you one of those students who wonders if years from now you will think if Evergreen was the right choice for you? Well, you aren’t the only one. Eighty-seven percent of alumni answered that they would choose to attend Evergreen again if they could start college over. Good news for us, but only 75 percent of the alumni said they would choose the same field(s) of study again. Alumni focusing in the sciences and social sciences felt more positive about their chosen fields of study than those in the arts and interdisciplinary liberal arts. If you are unsure about what you want to study, you might want to think how you will feel about your choice years from now.

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Thinking about your educational choices, are you contemplating what faculty you should work with before leaving Evergreen? Well here it is– straight from the mouths of alumni, a list of the most frequently mentioned faculty who made an impact on alumni education and personal growth still teaching at Evergreen. You might want to bring this list with you to the next academic fair:

Andrew Brabban // Bob Haft // Erik Thuesen // Frederica Bowcutt // George Freeman // Hirsh Diamant // Jeanne Hahn // Lawrence Mosqueda // Marianne Bailey // Paul Przybylowicz // Peter Bacho // Rita Pougiales // Steve Herman // Thomas Rainey // Tom Womeldorff

Not only have the Evergreen alums granted us with a list of faculty that made a difference in their education, they have given us insight into how people outside of Evergreen interpret and react to our unique transcripts. I am sure as you suspected, feelings about Evergreen transcripts are mixed, but here is some specific feedback. Overall, 36 percent of alumni reported positive experiences with their transcript including when alumni were applying for jobs or graduate/professional programs. In addition, the faculty-written evaluations came across as recommendation letters and the non-traditional format helped alumni stand out from other applicants.

“Describing the transcript to people or admissions departments has given me an ‘entry point,’ a way to build connection and stand out from others just because I had to explain, and therefore draw attention to my experiences and interests.” – Alumni, class of 1997

Infographic3-webOverall, 26 percent of alumni reported they had a negative experience with their transcript. Three main concerns were brought up: size and portability, lack of GPA/grades, and difficulty “translating” an Evergreen transcript to more traditional schools and employers.

“I would love it if there were some kind of much shorter summary that could be easily used by people to assess strengths and weaknesses. It provides me with more reflection on my education at Evergreen but is hard to use in the real world.” – Alumni, class of 2002

For those of you who are required to write, or have been debating writing, an academic statement, you can now see the usefulness of it. This is what alumni were wishing for to make their experience working with their transcript more positive and effective.

This report goes over many more topics in depth with spiffy graphics covering issues such as employment rates and graduate and professional programs acceptance rates after graduation, and even covers alumni reflections on the pedagogy of Evergreen. Students use this report as a tool and resource; it is not just for the college’s professional staff to think about. This is a great opportunity to make changes and be proactive in your education while you’re still a student. To access the full report visit www.evergreen.edu/ir/5-10-15.pdf.

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Shira Moch is the current student assistant at Institutional Research at Evergreen. She is currently taking the program “Small World: Poverty and Development on a Shrinking Planet.” After she graduates, she plans to take a year off and travel, eventually ending up in graduate school in California for urban planning.