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Ouachita reports 97% career outcomes rate for graduates in the midst of the pandemic

2020 graduate walks across stage to accept diplomaFebruary 11, 2021 - Rachel Gaddis

Ouachita Baptist University announced a 97% career outcomes rate for its 2020 graduating class, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The percentage exceeds this year’s national average of 86% reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Also referred to as a placement rate, career outcomes rate is the percentage of graduates who are working full or part-time or attending graduate school within six months of graduation. Of Ouachita’s 97% career outcomes rate, 30% are currently continuing their education in graduate or professional school.

“This data reflects characteristics we are proud of as a university – an excellent and affordable education, quality hands-on learning experiences and dedicated faculty and staff who support our students in the classroom and beyond to meet their educational and career goals,” said Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president. “Ouachita graduates have consistently shown their adaptability, and the class of 2020 has shown that to an even higher degree as they entered the work force during the pandemic.”  

Despite the pandemic’s effect on the job market and institutions of higher education around the country, Ouachita’s graduating class of 2020 proved to be competitive and successful alongside its Ouachita class of 2019 and 2018 counterparts, both of which reported 99% career outcomes rates following graduation.

“I am always proud of our graduates and the hard work they dedicate to securing employment or continuing their education,” said Rachel Roberts, Ouachita’s director of career and calling. “However, the class of 2020 went above and beyond in the midst of a pandemic to accomplish their goals that seemed less attainable considering the current market.

“Ouachita’s graduates proved once again that they demonstrate high levels of performance and strong principles,” she added. “Our office will continue to support our students and graduates by strengthening key partnerships and adapting strategic job search strategies that utilize more technology.”

Ouachita’s career outcomes rate is based on its First Destination Survey, which follows the standard established in the annual data collection by NACE. Of the 309 Ouachita graduates who were contacted by the Office of Career and Calling, 90% completed the survey compared to a national knowledge rate of 64.6%.

Ouachita Baptist University, a private liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, Ark., is in its 134th year as a Christ-centered learning community and is ranked the No. 2 “Regional College in the South” by U.S. News & World Report. In fall 2020, Ouachita recorded its highest enrollment in 20 years and its highest-ever four year graduation rate. Learn more about the university’s highly personal approach, reflected in a student/faculty ratio of 13:1, at www.obu.edu.


Lead photo: Felicia (Valdez) Hume, a 2020 psychology and Spanish graduate from Terrell, Texas, walks across the stage to receive her diploma at Ouachita's 133nd commencement ceremony held on Dec. 5, 2020. Ouachita reported a 97% career outcomes rate for its Class of 2020 graduates despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Andy Henderson ('18).

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