In May 2022, the Wake Forest University undergraduate degree recipients from 2016-2017 reported on the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) Alumni Survey high levels of satisfaction with their education and a strong sense of connection to WFU. Nearly all respondents indicated being either employed full-time or enrolled full-time in graduate school. 

HEDS is a consortium of private colleges and universities that collaboratively share, analyze, and use data to advance their institutional missions. The HEDS Alumni Survey asks alumni about the quality and impact of their undergraduate educational experiences, including co-curricular activities such as internships, study abroad, and community service. The survey also asks alumni to evaluate the impact of their undergraduate education on their postgraduate critical thinking, problem-solving, and other learning outcomes. Additionally, the survey asks about postgraduate employment, college satisfaction, and college debt. See responses to individual HEDS Alumni Survey items here.

The HEDS Alumni Survey was distributed to 902 undergraduate degree recipients from the 2016-2017 academic year for whom the university had valid email addresses. A total of 127 Wake Forest alumni submitted responses (8% margin of error, 14% response rate, 11% of the entire 1,137 graduating cohort). The respondents were fairly representative of the graduating class by race, gender, and major.

See here for more on survey analysis methodology.

Respondent Description

  • Nearly all alumni responding to the survey indicated very strong or some connections to Wake (67/71) and being very satisfied or satisfied with their undergraduate education (68/71).
  • Respondents earned degrees across 31 majors and 40 minors. About one in four respondents earned undergraduate degrees from the School of Business.
  • About half of the respondents who indicated a gender identified as a woman, and half as a man.
  • Three out of four respondents who provided a race/ethnicity self-reported as White.
  •  32 of the 70 who responded to the item reported having taken out loans to pay for their undergraduate degree.  Thirteen of the 32 who borrowed indicated borrowing $50,000 or more.  Of those 32 who borrowed, 23 indicated they were personally responsible for paying back at least half of the loan amount.
  • Three-fourths of the 127 respondents (n=97) reported being employed full-time, with an additional 21 indicating being full-time graduate/professional school students.
  • About half of the respondents indicated their annual income.  The median income range of those responding was $80,000-$99,999.
  • Respondents most often indicated they have either earned, are currently working toward, or plan to earn a Master’s degree in Arts and Sciences (n=43) or an MBA (n=31).
  • Respondents very often or often participated in intramural or club sports (29/72) and internships (29/72) most and in student government (3/72) least.

Employment Items

  • Most of the 72 respondents who indicated the number of jobs they’ve had since graduating from WFU in ’16-’17, reported having one or two jobs (n=40).  Five indicated having held five or more jobs in that time.  And most of those 72 reported securing their first job while enrolled as an undergraduate (n=43).
  • Respondents answered several questions evaluating their first jobs after Wake. Of the 69 who responded to these questions most (n=55) agreed that their first job allowed them to continue and learn, while the fewest (n=32) said it paid enough to support their lifestyle.
  • On most issues, respondents reported higher scores or more satisfaction regarding their current job when comparing their current job to their first job.  Alumni reported the greatest gains between their first and current jobs on their current job offering upward mobility and paying enough to support their desired lifestyle.
  • Four out of five indicated Wake prepared them quite a bit or very much for their current career (60/75) or graduate school (62/73).  While fewer (30/75) indicated being prepared for the responsibilities of post-undergraduate life.

HEDS Grouped Items

HEDS grouped many survey items around specific themes. Below are some highlights from each theme.

  • Good Teaching and High-Quality Interactions with Faculty – 114 out of 117 respondents strongly agreed or agreed Wake faculty were genuinely interested in students.
  • Challenging Assignments and High Faculty Expectations – 86 out of 91 respondents reported faculty posed challenging ideas in class very often or often.  About half (49/90) made oral presentations in class.
  • Interactions with Diversity – About half of respondents indicated at least often having serious discussions with students whose political, social, or religious opinions were different from their own (46/85) or serious discussions with other students about different lifestyles or customs (46/85).
  • Growth on Civic Outcomes – Most respondents reported having developed intercultural knowledge and competence skills while at Wake (59/78).
  • Growth on Intellectual Outcomes – Nearly all respondents reported developing while at Wake quite a bit or very much skills in critical thinking, information literacy, and problem-solving.

Wake Forest Custom Questions

  • In general, respondents from the class of 2016-2017 differed little in the responses from those given by the class of 2013-2014 who were surveyed in the spring of 2019.  For example, financial aid was at least an important factor in their decision to enroll at Wake for about half of the respondents.  Nearly all indicated they would choose Wake again, that student-faculty engagement was very important or important to their overall experience, and that their liberal arts education has prepared them to lead a life of meaning and purpose.
    • One exception is that about half of the respondents from 2016-2017 reported supporting Wake financially compared to about two in three respondents from the class of 2013-2014.
  • About four in five of this year’s respondents gave high marks to Wake for providing support to help students succeed academically, providing social opportunities, and supporting their overall well-being.
  • Roughly one in five indicated having felt discriminated against while at Wake because of their race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, or religion.