Each year, the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) surveys the graduating class to learn about their first steps after leaving Grinnell College. Our survey is comprehensive: we assess how Grinnellians spent their time on campus outside academics, which experiential learning experiences they pursued (internships, research, and service), and what they move on to after graduation (employment, graduate school, fellowships, and post-graduate service positions). We have conducted a version of this survey each year since 2012.

For graduates who report that they are employed, our survey asks for details about their position. Grinnellians pursue employment in a wide range of career fields. We have aligned the reported job fields with the seven Career Communities in the CLS:

  • Arts, Media & Communications
  • Business & Finance
  • Education Professions
  • Government & Social Service
  • Health Professions
  • Law
  • STEM

(A small number of graduates’ jobs each year do not align with any of these Career Communities).

In this graph, we can explore the changing career interests of graduates over the last five years, and how these changes correspond to other influences at Grinnell. (Download a screen reader accessible version of these data.)

N (total) = 1097

Graph displaying career interests of Grinnell graduates over the last five years.


The Education Professions Career Community was the first to be established at Grinnell, in fall 2013. In the initial years of our survey, education led the job fields pursued by employed graduates. In fall 2017, we added Business & Finance, Government & Social Service, Law, and STEM. The remaining Career Communities – Arts, Media & Communications and Health Professions – followed in 2018. As the Career Communities program expanded beyond Education Professions, the proportion of graduates employed in other fields expanded.

Changes in these employment fields also reflect broader trends at Grinnell: science majors are popular, and post-graduation careers in STEM fields have been steadily increasing. In the CLS, we work to support Grinnellians’ diverse goals and connect them to opportunities in all their areas of interest.

You can dig deeper into what we’ve learned from these surveys on the Graduate Outcomes site, and via each class’s Post-Graduation Status Report.

Visualization created in good old fashioned Excel.

Want to know more about this data? Contact Sarah Barks.

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