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Cornell University

Survey Methods

For more about surveys administered through Cornell Career Services visit our Dashboard and Surveys page. 

Data Collection

The primary method for collecting graduate outcomes data is an online survey administered by Cornell Career Services. Several strategies are used to distribute the survey including: centralized emails, college-specific emails, and requests during capstone classes and related college events. Requests to complete the survey are sent approximately 1 month before graduation, at graduation, 3-months post-graduation, and 6-months post-graduation. We collect data for six months past the May graduation date, closing data collection in late December/early January. Direct surveys of graduates are our primary and preferred source of data. However, when survey data were not available, other sources of information were considered (e.g., LinkedIn). Response rates vary across colleges and majors. Our survey data are 99.9% student provided, with less than 15 responses added from sources such as LinkedIn.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The privacy and confidentiality of graduates is highly respected and protected throughout. We greatly appreciate the willingness of Cornell graduates to share their outcomes information. Personally identifying information is removed from outcomes data and only reported in aggregate. In college and major salary analysis, in cases where we have fewer than 9 employed graduates, we do not provide salary informationMore granular data is not available through this public tool.

Terms and Categories

It is helpful to understand key terminology that is used to define outcomes and categorize variables. When completing the online survey, graduates were asked about their plans for after graduation which are represented in the following categories on the dashboard.

  • Postgraduate Activity, the primary status upon graduation from Cornell (within six months after graduation). 

    • Employed, which includes self-employed, paid internship, and service organization with compensation/stipend, such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America. This category encompasses (a) working full-time, (b) working part-time, and (c) engaged in military service

    • Graduate or Professional School
    • Seeking Employment
    • Seeking Acceptance to Graduate School
    • Declined Offer, still seeking
    • Other, which includes: (a) unemployed and not seeking; (b) volunteering; (c) family or other caregiving (d) travel, (e) Time off or (f) other [write in]. 
  • Response Rate, number of survey responses divided by eligible number of graduates. At Cornell, the postgraduate survey is not mandatory.
  • Field of Occupation, area/field a particular job belongs to (e.g., research, accounting, human resources)
  • Employment Sector, area/industry of an employer/organization (e.g., manufacturing, technology, education)
  • Grad Field Areas - 26 larger categories that encompass multiple subfields. It is beyond the scope of this page to list all categories but some categories are listed below: 
    • Medicine includes Medicine, Nursing, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, Pharmaceutical Science, Genetic Medicine, Rehab Medicine, Physician Assistant, Physician Assistant, Post-Bacc Pre Med, Chiropractic Medicine, Molecular Medicine, Medical Sciences, Medical Physics, and Control of Infectious Diseases.
    • Other Health includes 42 categories such as Athletic Training, Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, Environmental Health, Health Administration, Health Policy and Management, Hospital Administration, International Health, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Physical Therapy, Public Health, Speech Pathology, Sport Psychology and Physiology. 

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