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Office of Institutional Research and Assessment

University of South Carolina Columbia
2001 Alumni Survey

A total of 415 USC Columbia alumni (30% of the 1997-1998 graduates surveyed) completed the Alumni Survey in 2001. The Alumni Survey is distributed every two years to a 50% sample of USC undergraduate alumni who graduated three years before the survey is administered. The Alumni Survey is administered in part to fulfill the requirements of Act 255 of 1992 and Act 359 of 1996, which mandate that public institutions of higher learning report placement data and educational satisfaction attitudes of graduates.

Indicate how satisfied you are with various aspects of your undergraduate experience at USC.

Very Satisfied

Satisfied

Somewhat Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Very Dissatisfied

Your major program study

36.1%

50.8%

10.1%

2.4%

.5%

Instruction in your major

30.8%

54.1%

13.3%

1.5%

.2%

Your general education program of study (non major degree requirements)

17.6%

61.1%

18.8%

2.2%

.2%

Instruction in your general education program

18.2%

62.3%

17.3%

1.9%

.2%

Your overall academic experience

30.8%

58.3%

9.6%

1.2%

--



Indicate how frequently you are involved in each of the following types of activities.

           

Weekly

Monthly

Annually

Less Often

Never

           

Career-related advanced education or training

23.6%

22.6%

31.7%

11.3%

10.8%

           

"Lifelong learning"/personal enrichment studies outside your career area(s)

12.6%

16.3%

22.1%

30.6%

18.4%

           

Professional or service organization

15.7%

23.7%

27.1%

18.8%

14.7%

           

Volunteer, public or community service

12.9%

21.8%

28.3%

22.8%

14.1%

           

Social/recreational organization

24.6%

28.0%

11.9%

19.7%

15.8%

           

Support or participation in the arts

9.9%

18.5%

25.2%

25.0%

11.4%

 

Indicate the extent to which your college experience influenced your participation in the activities listed above.

Strongly

Moderately

Somewhat

None at all

Career-related advanced education or training

37%

24%

21%

18%

           

"Lifelong learning"/personal enrichment studies outside your career area(s)

18%

23%

30%

30%

           

Professional or service organization

26%

24%

23%

27%

           

Volunteer, public or community service

12%

26%

28%

34%

           

Social/recreational organization

17%

23%

27%

34%

           

Support or participation in the arts

12%

20%

27%

42%



Please check the best response in the following statement: Since leaving college, I have voted in, all, some, a few, or none of the elections.

51.3% - All

24.3% - Most

8.7% - Some

5.3% - A Few

10.3% - None



How long did it take you to obtain your first full-time job after graduation?

42.0% - Obtained job prior to leaving college

13.7% - 7-12 months

16.5% - Less than one month

7.7% - More than twelve months

6.5% - 1-3 months

3.6% - Have not obtained a full-time job

1.7% - 4-6 months

8.4% - Did not seek a full-time job



Please indicate the relationship between your undergraduate major and your work, for both your first job after graduation and, if applicable, your current position.

 

Highly Related

Moderately Related

Slightly Related

Not Related

Never/Not Employed

First job after graduation

49.2%

16.4%

10.6%

20.2%

3.6%

Current position

48.4%

18.8%

8.4%

20.0%

4.3%



Please indicate the location of your first job after graduation and your current position.

South Carolina

Southeast, outside of South Carolina

Outside the Southeast

Never/Not Employed

First job after graduation

69.8%

14.0%

12.8%

3.4%

Current position

60.7%

15.9%

19.0%

4.3%



Indicate which of the following best describes your activities six months after graduation from USC and currently.

Six months after graduation

Currently

Continuing your education full-time

11.6%

7.0%

Employed and continuing your education

19.3%

15.9%

Employed full-time

47.1%

51.9%

Employed part-time

5.8%

1.0%

Self-employed (farm or business owner, etc.)

1.9%

2.7%

Serving in the Armed Forces

1.7%

1.2%

Caring for a home/family

.2%

.7%

Unemployed - seeking work

1.2%

.5%

Unemployed - not seeking work

.2%

--

Other

.2%

.2%

Employed full-time and Caring for a home/family

6.5%

11.8%

Employed and continuing your education and Caring for a home/family

2.7%

5.3%

Employed part-time and Caring for a home/family

.5%

.7%

Serving in the Armed Forces and Caring for a home/family

.9%

.9%

 

As they relate to your current employment or post-graduate education, how well did your experiences at USC Columbia prepare you in the following ways?

Excellent

Good

Adequate

Inadequate

Not Sure

Oral communication

28.7%

44.6%

22.2%

3.6%

1.0%

Use of computers and technology

27.2%

36.4%

24.3%

11.3%

.7%

Math and data interpretation

18.1%

42.8%

27.1%

8.9%

3.1%

Problem solving

24.4%

49.0%

21.7%

3.9%

1.0%

Workplace diversity

30.9%

37.9%

20.8%

8.2%

2.2%

Interpersonal skills

33.3%

42.4%

19.0%

4.3%

1.0%



Did the knowledge and skills you acquired at USC prepare you for the job market?

74.5% - Yes

15.4% - No

10.1% - Not Sure



Rate the overall quality of your USC education.

49.7% - Above Average

47.4% - Average

2.4% - Below Average

.5% - Not Sure



What is your ethnic background?

1.2% - American Indian/Alaskan Native

.7% - Hispanic

3.6% - Asian or Pacific Islander

1.2% - Multi-racial

13.1% - Black/African American

80.1% - White/Non-Hispanic

What is your gender?

 

65.9% - Female

 

34.1% - Male

 

.3% - No Response

 

Comments:

"I did not have any math classes as an undergraduate."

"I'm a foreigner, I can't vote."

"NOTE: PARKING IS TERRIBLE AT USC!!!"

"For highly technical post-graduate education, higher level math and computer science is needed (beyond the major curriculum) for students pursuing advanced degrees. The current curriculum requirements are not completely sufficient to insure/assist students' success in their post-baccalaureate studies. For an industrial job, however, these extra skills are most likely not necessary, and would not benefit the average student."

"My major study and it's instruction could have been a better experience had a choice been offered to the areas of concentration. For example, why offer students a chance to study radio when, in fact, television is strongly emphasized?"

"My academic experiences at USC were adequate. However, I did experience some discriminational practices. Insensitivity in curriculum and content toward people of color was evident. I was an honors college student and felt somewhat isolated."

"I was very pleased with Columbia and my time spent at the University of South Carolina. I am only displeased with the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation (SCSCC). What a bunch of "bottom feeders", to offer kids easy "to access" money for college and then charge high interest rates that are compounded monthly. I borrowed about $19,000 and have paid for three years and I now owe SCSCC about $22,000. I know that they are not part of USC and I'm glad! They should be investigated."

"I majored in business at Carolina and I am proud to see the progress the Business School is making. Here are some suggestions from personal experience:

  • In the core business classes (management, marketing, Accounting, Finance, Economics), in other words the ones that every business student has to take, encourage the professors to teach and not spend so much time being "full of themselves." I think professors want to convey a certain level of intelligence and they assume that students know certain things about the business world. They shouldn't assume this. They should teach exhaustively or at least try to teach on the level of an undergraduate sophomore business student.
  • The accounting classes for non-accounting majors are entirely too theoretical. When I was there our Accounting program was ranked 14th in the country. Unfortunately, this didn't make sense to me because I didn't learn a thing about accounting because I was struggling so hard to pass the classes. For accounting majors theory is fine, but a more hands on approach would work better for non-accounting majors

Keep up the good work! We are moving up in the ranking."

"Ideas:

  • Encourage more students to do Co-ops or internships to get that hands-on experience.
  • Collaborate with companies to lower student's GPA in order to apply for an internship or Co-op. From my experience, some student's didn't bother to do a Co-op or internship because the GPA was way above normal. The normal GPA for internship or Co-op should be at least a 2.5. Some programs of study are just too difficult to maintain a 3.5 at all times.
  • Do more hands-on experience in the classroom. Don't have classes just filled with lecturing."

"Some of these questions were difficult for me to answer. I was not a biology major but I am currently a second year dental student. My major was Criminal Justice but I decided to go to dental school instead of law school. I hope my answers helped you."

"If a state as poor as West Virginia can sustain a Carnegie Research I flagship university, South Carolina has no excuse. Some progress has been made, but "some" is not good enough in today's hypercompetetive environment. I actually came back to school to get my degree after a twenty-five year hiatus. Overall, the quality of instruction had improved, but it was quite uneven. I've never had a course at any level better than Bob Herzstein's Cold War history. I've never had a worse experience anywhere than a statistics course taught by a doctoral candidate who did not make even the most cursary effort to hide her contempt for her students. I also believe that the current administration exhibits a detrimental preference toward the "hard sciences" because of individual backgrounds. The funding and attention given to the social sciences is roughly on a par with that accorded disenfranchised stepchildren. A strong state university needs a better balance."

"My USC college experience would not have been as good as it was if it wasn't for Dr. David Berube. He made it all worth it."

"Having to work full-time and go to school was a big hindrance for me. It made perfect sense then but now I see what I missed out on. Overall, I do feel that USC offers many opportunities outside the classroom and does instill a sense of responsibility to the community and the world. Thanks for letting me take part in this survey. I hope this information is helpful."

"My B.A. was in the Honors College, which would have scored higher than my non-honors courses. As for my major department - it is stronger academically than my current Ivy League Ph.D. department! Kudos to the faculty in the Anthropology department for that!"

"Learned more from on the job experience in relation to my major in college than knowledge and skills acquired at USC."

"One thing I would like to point out is that I thought a large number of my classes were too easy. If USC wants to increase the rate in which it attracts high achievers from the state's high schools, the university must raise the challenges in class. Thanks."

"My time at USC was well spent and I have learned alot. The only negative comment I have concerns the math department. Although technically competent, the instructor I had for differential equations was not very well versed in English. It was difficult to get some explanations because he just didn't have a good enough grasp of the language."

"I felt that the computer classes USC offered were way below that which is in the real world. The two PC classes I had were on Mac using software that was older than I was. I have never used a Mac in any of my jobs (I did have one at home). I am very technology savvy, so I was able to adapt. But I was really worried about those who were not, and expected this kind of software and machines to be in the real world. Would have liked to have seen Word 101 or Excel 101 as a "core" PC course! Very disappointed! What I knew I learned from on the job experiences."

"The education I received at USC was adequate in the areas of theory and logic. What USC failed to provide was a transition from theory to real-life applications. The instructors taught from outdated books and manuals and never related the text material to actual work experience. Outside of programming we were never introduced to other computer related technology outside of the programming realm. I feel that more classes could have been used to introduce areas other than computer programming."

"One suggestion I would like to make, as a graduate of the College of Criminal Justice and also as a law enforcement officer, would be to have the University in conjunction with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy offer a program which would let the students become certified law enforcement officers in the state of South Carolina. This seemed to be the biggest hurdle in getting a job in law enforcement. My suggestion would be to offer this as a summer school course and make it mandatory for graduation. Also, encourage those students who wish to become traffic enforcement officers (i.e., Highway Patrol, Department of Transportation) to take several math courses, as this will be valuable in accident reconstruction courses offered by the Criminal Justice Academy."

"I first expressed disappointment in the USC curriculum after attending a conference at Viginia Tech, where some of the best and brightest from other schools had assembled. In interacting with them, I discovered that USC's curriculum is somewhat behind second teir universities in educating their students. The finance students at these other schools were definitely head and shoulders above myself in performing data analysis and tracking different markets.

Though I have benefited immensely from my time spent at USC, I would like the program to adopt a "never satisfied" attitude. I graduated in 1998, a year before some of the windfall donations made to USC of late were received. I'm sure that the increased funding will do miracles in helping the school prepare future students."