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Illini success story

Illini Success report shows staying power of AHS degree

In a year that saw historically high unemployment rates because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the power of a degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign still shone through.

The sixth annual Illini Success report shows that graduates in summer 2019, fall 2019 and spring 2020 still found jobs, enrolled in graduate school or began volunteer programs on par with previous years. In fact, about 91 percent of graduates campus-wide secured a “first destination”—defined as a job, enrollment in graduate school or a volunteer position—within six months of graduation.

Graduates of The College of Applied Health Sciences had a 90-percent placement rate, with 68 percent of them choosing to continue their education. AHS graduates reported an annual average salary of $47,034.

“I (majored in) Speech & Hearing Science with a concentration in Speech Pathology, along with a minor in Psychology. I knew both areas would provide the opportunity to work with diverse populations with unique needs, and to make a positive impact on clients’ lives. But, I still wasn’t sure exactly which path I wanted to take... To help guide me, I became actively engaged in several internship and leadership opportunities on campus where I worked on multidisciplinary teams and was exposed to the roles that a variety of professions play in the advocacy arena, which led me down the path I am taking today,” said SHS graduate Mikayla Pollard, who graduated in May 2020.

Top employers for AHS graduates include Busey Bank, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Carle Foundation Hospital, Christie Clinic, CVS Health and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“In this year when so many lives and jobs have been disrupted by the pandemic, it is gratifying to see that an Illinois degree provided so many of our recent graduates with a solid foundation for these critical first steps in their future careers,” Chancellor Robert J. Jones said. “Ninety-one percent of our graduates found a first destination in one of the most challenging periods in living memory. And their skills and knowledge are going to play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding that will be necessary in the years to come.”

Campuswide, about 75 percent of new U of I graduates stayed in the state of Illinois for their first destination (about 68 percent of U of I graduates overall stay in Illinois). The remaining 25 percent found first destinations across 46 other U.S. states and 27 countries.

Some 92 percent of U of I students reported participating in an experiential learning opportunity (internship, research project, study abroad, service learning, clinical programs, etc.), and 35 percent of those experiences resulted directly in a full-time job offer.

The report includes students who completed undergraduate degrees in August 2019, December 2019 and May 2020. Data was obtained from a survey of graduates and other sources such as the National Student Clearinghouse, college reports and LinkedIn data. The project is supported by the Office of the Provost, Career Services Council, Division of Management Information, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Office of the Registrar, Institutional Review Board Office, Council of Undergraduate Deans and other partners.

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