FAQs

 

Alumni Careers and Achievements

 

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What do your alumni do when they graduate? What percentages go on to graduate school?

As of 2013, Christendom has approximately 1600 graduates. A number of them each year do go on to graduate school (approximately 15%), particularly law school (University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, William and Mary, Washington and Lee, Catholic University of America, and others), while others choose to continue coursework in their field of studies at universities such as Fordham, Virginia Tech, Harvard, the Angelicum, and elsewhere.

Other alumni enter the workforce upon graduation and enter many different fields, such as business, sales, computers, marketing, education, publishing, journalism, and much more. To learn more, please see this page on our website.

I am interested in entering the medical field after college and wanted to know if this was possible if I went to Christendom?

It is quite possible to go to medical school after earning your liberal arts degree from Christendom. In fact, according to a Harvard University report, if you want to be a doctor, it may be more beneficial to earn a liberal arts degree than a pre-med degree.

The report indicates that potential physicians need not insulate themselves from the liberal arts, and in some cases may hurt their chances by doing so. The report showed that although grades and academic honors are important for admission to medical school, a student’s choice of major has no bearing. Dean Whitla, director of Harvard’s office of tests, says:

It would be regrettable if some of our students who plan to become doctors felt that they must turn away from their interest in the liberal arts for fear of being rejected at medical school without a premedical major. At Harvard Medical School, pre-med prepared students do better the first year, but by the third year they fall slightly behind students who majored in the liberal arts.


Although it may take a little extra work to get prepared for the MCATs and medical school, those who have chosen to do so from Christendom have no regrets.

John-Paul Jansen majored in history and graduated from Christendom College in 2000. He is now a physician at Exempla Lutheran Hospital in Colorodo and believes the education he received at Christendom did more than just prepare him for medicine: but it helped him to become someone who understands more of life than simply what is in front of him. It helps him to achieve his goals every day, whether professional, social, or spiritual.

And finally, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

As you select a college remember that just as in high school, a good liberal arts education is a key ingredient to becoming a physician. You'll need a strong foundation in mathematics and the sciences that relate most to medicine: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. But it's important for your college experience to be broad. Taking courses in the humanities or liberal arts will help you prepare for the ‘people’ side of medicine. https://www.aamc.org/students/aspiring/109796/considering_decision.html


So, hopefully you can see that attending Christendom and earning a degree in liberal arts will not limit you in your career choice, but rather, opens it up to many different possibilities, with medicine being only one of them.


What do people do with their degrees from Christendom?

Christendom grads are employed in just about every field possible. We have alumni who have degrees in philosophy who are financial analysts and teachers. We have alumni with history degrees who are marketing professionals and officers in the military. Theology majors are now electrical engineers and computer software programmers. We have alumni who are doctors, lawyers, physical therapists, accountants, managers, nurses, educators, salesmen, graphic artists, editors, entrepreneurs, project managers, tradesmen, builders, carpenters, priests, religious, music teachers, art directors, drama teachers, missionaries, real estate agents, insurance salesmen, architects, dentists, college professors, Montessori teachers, computer scientists, and everything in between.

The liberal arts education that Christendom offers is good and useful in and of itself, but it also makes our graduates very employable. Our graduates are easily able to adapt to an ever-changing work environment and they have all the most sought-after skills, as evidenced by the following information:

  • Liberal arts students advance more quickly to middle and senior management positions than their colleagues who pursued other fields of study . . . these graduates become employees that are ready to learn (AT&T Management Study).  
  • The liberal arts are more effective in teaching communication skills, general knowledge and information, an understanding of people, an appreciation of ethical concerns, an ability to organize and prioritize, and vital leadership skills (Fortune 500 study).
  • Business leaders value liberal arts grads for their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong writing and speaking skills, self-discipline, exposure to diverse ideas, and global perspective (Hobart & William Smith Colleges study).
  • Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have – and also the one most lacking among job applicants (Poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).
  • A broad liberal arts education is preferred for future CEOs – blending knowledge of history, culture, philosophy, and economic policy, with international experience and problem-solving skills (The Wall Street Journal).
  • Employers focus on finding graduates with the right skills rather than the right major, as a new employee with the right skills can easily learn the specifics of an industry. Employers desire transferable skills, skills employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace – and these are characteristic of a liberal arts education (Survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers).

I hope this helps you with your understanding of the importance and value of a liberal arts education! And here's an interesting article to read about this whole subject.

I am interested in going into the field of education when I'm done with my studies. Is Christendom College a good choice for a person who has this goal, and specifically, what does Christendom have to offer a person who has this goal?

This is a very good question and, in fact, one that is asked of me quite often. As a general answer, a Christendom education is beneficial to anyone interested in any field of work because of the overall well roundedness of our program. We educate our students, rather than train them. We believe that by giving our students a classical liberal arts education, they will be ready to meet all of the challenges that come their way upon graduation. In fact, we have seen this to be the case with our graduates. Our graduates are involved in many varied and different careers, from medicine to law, journalism to law enforcement, from owning their own businesses to working on Wall Street.

Now to address the specifics of the question: What does Christendom have to offer a person interested in entering the field of education upon graduation?

To begin with, a large percentage of our alumni have gone on to teach, mostly at the elementary and secondary levels, but some have chosen to pursue graduate school and teach at the college level. We have alumni teaching at Providence College, DeSales University, Jacksonville State University, University of Dallas, Catholic University of America, New York State University at Albany, Christendom College, Fordham, and elsewhere. In fact, I used to be a teacher for a number of years and also spent a year serving as a Headmaster of a small private elementary school in New Hampshire.
 
Through our core curriculum, through the study of history, philosophy, literature, theology, political science, math, and science, our students are truly educated in the things that matter. They are not educated to do one thing or another, but are simply educated. Because of this, those who have an interest in teaching are always welcomed, and even sought after, by many Catholic school systems. School officials realize that although teaching methods are very important, the most important thing in teaching anyone is the love and knowledge of the Faith and the desire to pass on, not only head-knowledge, but more importantly, a love of God, His Church, and the good Catholic life in general. Christendom College prepares its students for that.

Other colleges, in their education programs, may teach its students how to teach math to 4th graders, or how to organize your classroom to make it more learning friendly. We believe that these things will work themselves out once you are in the classroom so there is no real need to spend a bunch of money and time on being trained in specifics when you will end up learning these things on-the-job later.

Now for those who may want to get their feet wet in teaching before graduation, we do offer a Teacher Formation Program as part of our curriculum. Seniors are given the opportunity to work as teacher aids with local Catholic and public schools, helping to plan classes and teach certain subjects. More information on this program can be found by going here.

I’ve met a couple of your alumni, and they seem like pretty decent people. They are definitely great Catholics, but I’ve sometimes wondered if all of them end up having to go to grad school and rack up more debt, due to the fact that a degree in the subjects you offer would not be of much use in today’s job market. Any thoughts?

Do I have any thoughts? Never ask an Admissions Director this:)  Our alumni do all kinds of things after graduation. The one thing that you can pretty much count on when earning a degree in one of our majors (history, theology, philosophy, political science, English, and classics) is that you will generally not work in that field after graduation (Check out our list of what our alumni do http://www.christendom.edu/alumni/leaders.php).

And going to grad school is something they may never be part of your life either.  The majority of Christendom grads do not go on to grad school. Not that there is anything wrong with this, of course, but I am telling you this because you should certainly not assume that because someone has a degree in history or philosophy or theology that they need to do further schooling in order to get a good job.

When I was a Director of Religious Education back in the mid-90s, I was responsible for teaching the RCIA class, for those who were interested in becoming Catholic. It was a great experience, but one of the things that I came to realize is that there is a lot of bad information going around about the Catholic faith. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what we actually believe versus what people think we believe. For example, I can’t tell you how many times my students would tell me, “Tom, why do Catholics worship Mary?” Of course, as we all know, this is not true because we do not worship Mary, but rather, we venerate her and ask for her intercession with her Son on our behalf – Big difference! As soon as I would say that, they’d respond, “Ahhhh. I see. Tell me more.”

Why am I telling you this little fun fact? Well, right now, and for many years in the recent past, there has been a lot of bad information going around about the value and benefits of a liberal arts degree. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what liberal arts grads actually do versus what people think they do. And one of these big misunderstandings is that people think the following: Those poor liberal arts students, since they wasted their college years on studying the higher things and getting educated in a broad manner, now they have to go on and spend another 2-4 years actually getting a worthwhile education in a specialized field that will help them land a job. What a shame that they have to spend extra time and money to be competitive in the workforce.

Of course, as we should all know, this is not true. Maybe it was at some point in time, but not now. How can I say this with such conviction? Because I know the majority of our approximately 1600 graduates, and yes, I know the majority of them personally (I have a strange ability to remember things and people), and I know what they do, and I know that most of them did not go to graduate school to do what they currently do. They went to Christendom, graduated, and then got on with their lives and worked hard to achieve the great things that they have achieved. We have alumni who are involved in just about every type of industry, with many of them now acting as leaders, managers, and directors in their workplaces, and again, the majority did not go to grad school.

And our grads are not the only ones with liberal arts degrees succeeding. There are a couple hundred liberal arts colleges in the US, and they all have their own little success stories to tell.

Now, back to the issue of grad school. If our students wish to go to grad school (law, medicine, PhD programs, MBA, etc), they are highly encouraged to do so, and for the most part, they do quite well on all the necessary entrance exams (MCATs, LSATs, GREs, etc), which enables them to gain acceptance to many schools of their choice. When they go grad school, they generally do quite well and graduate high in their classes. And we are happy for these alumni. We are happy that they chose to further their education. But it is important to make the distinction between having to go to grad school to land a job and choosing to go to one to further one’s education and possibly land a job.

Over our 35 years, about 15% of our grads have gone to graduate school (University of Virginia, William & Mary, The Angelicum, Oxford University, Notre Dame, University of Dallas, Catholic U, Harvard, etc), which, of course, means that 85% of our graduates have not. In fact, only about 9% of Americans over the age of 25 have a graduate degree, so apparently, it’s not just Christendom students who are choosing to enter the workplace following their undergrad education, but just about everyone else, too (although only about 30% of Americans over 25 have a college degree at all according to the 2012 US Census). Check out our listing of grad schools our alumni have attended.

The usefulness of a liberal arts degree in finding a job in the workplace will be debated forever, most likely, and people are sometimes very stubborn in their willingness to change their minds on the subject. All I can ask is that you take a look at some actual facts, figures, and stats and make a decision on your own, without all the interference that sometimes accompanies this subject.

Thanks for asking about this and I hope that you are now a little more informed about the whole matter! 

I really like the idea of Christendom, and I think that going there will make me a better person, but I am still unsure if I will be able to get a job or gain any useful career-related skills while studying the liberal arts. Can you give me any assurances that I will be able to get a job after graduation, please?

There is a famous statement that is said of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist: For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. Although I am not equating the Real Presence with the fact that a liberal arts education is one of the best educations out there for gaining employment, I am saying that there are two groups of thought on the issue, and it is sometimes very hard to bridge the gap between them: the believers and the unbelievers. But I will try.

When someone asks me this question, here’s how my typical response comes out: “What do you want to do when you graduate? What I mean is, what job do you think you will not be able to get if you graduate with a liberal arts degree? The reason I ask this is because our alumni are involved in just about every career field possible (OK, we don’t have any astronauts or circus performers…yet), so there is really no need to worry about the ability to find a job or achieve your ‘dream career’ upon graduation. In fact, I can probably name for you the alumnus or alumna who is doing the job in which you are interested.”

Now, after hearing my little spiel, some look at me with trust and say to themselves: “Wow, he just said that they have alumni doing all kinds of things in all kinds of fields that are unrelated to the majors that they offer here. He would most certainly know whether there is a whole slew of alumni living on the streets, unable to find work, and he would probably not be able to sleep at night if he were sitting there lying to me and all other prospective students about the value of the liberal arts degree. I guess an education at Christendom does prepare you for the workforce, as well as for life. Sign me up.”

And then there are the others. “Man, this guy thinks he can convince me with a few catch phrases and pointed questions? I still don’t believe it. I want to be a software engineer, or maybe an accountant, but then again, maybe I want to be a journalist, a restaurant manager, a dentist, or possibly a computer programmer. How’s this liberal arts degree going to help me do any of these things? Where’s the proof? Show me the money, McFadden.”

Here’s the deal. As I’ve mentioned before (and it is certainly worth repeating):

  • Liberal arts students advance more quickly to middle and senior management positions than their colleagues who pursued other fields of study . . . these graduates become employees that are ready to learn (AT&T Management Study).  
  • The liberal arts are more effective in teaching communication skills, general knowledge and information, an understanding of people, an appreciation of ethical concerns, an ability to organize and prioritize, and vital leadership skills (Fortune 500 study).
  • Business leaders value liberal arts grads for their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong writing and speaking skills, self-discipline, exposure to diverse ideas, and global perspective (Hobart & William Smith Colleges study).
  • Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have – and also the one most lacking among job applicants (Poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).
  • A broad liberal arts education is preferred for future CEOs – blending knowledge of history, culture, philosophy, and economic policy, with international experience and problem-solving skills (The Wall Street Journal).
  • Employers focus on finding graduates with the right skills rather than the right major, as a new employee with the right skills can easily learn the specifics of an industry. Employers desire transferable skills, skills employees take with them to any job, such as written and verbal communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, to work well with others, and to adapt in a changing workplace – and these are characteristic of a liberal arts education (Survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Also, Christendom graduates do very well on their graduate school entrance exams (LSAT, MCAT, GRE, etc) and go to a variety of graduate schools such as Notre Dame, Harvard, William & Mary, University of Virginia, Oxford, George Mason, and Catholic University.

They earn MBAs, MSEEs, JDs, MDs, PhDs, MSNs, and MAs in things like law, engineering, business, accounting, philosophy, theology, history, political science, architecture, dentistry, medicine, nursing, and everything in between.

Through the Christendom alumni and career network, we are able to help our students prepare for their life after graduation. We aid them in career preparation through talks and workshops, through presentations and meeting with them one-on-one. We help them with resume writing and interview skills; job exploration and graduate school search; alumni networking and job placement. We have a number of companies and organizations who specifically look to Christendom for their next employees.

An interesting thing to think about is this: Most people do not end up working in the career field that they majored in at college. Therefore, picking a specific school to attend because of a specific major that is offered is certainly no guarantee (a 50/50 chance) that you will actually work in that field. The difference with studying at Christendom and majoring in one of our offerings (history, theology, political science, classics, English language and literature, or philosophy…with minors in math, liturgical music, and economics), you can be almost certain that you will not actually work in the field of study of your major.

Out of our close to 1600 graduates, very few are employed in their area of study. But they are broadly educated, and therefore, not limited to one area of employment. They are able to move around from career field to career field, if they wish. They can more easily move up the management ladder. They do not have to go back to school for more training if they choose to change jobs. They can do anything.

“What do you want to do when you graduate? What jobs do you think you cannot get with a degree from Christendom?” You want to be an Electrical Engineer, talk to Damian Fedoryka. Interested in peoples’ teeth? Talk to Dentist Sam Aronhime. How about an architect? Peter Jensen. Computer programmer? See Bennett Ellis at IBM. An Accountant? Talk with Sean Kay, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Marketing professional? Check out Dave Greiner at Agent X. Like the idea of nursing? You need to talk with Jill Vander Woude. Interested in Journalism? Robyn Lee at Faith & Family magazine can help you out. Want to try your hand at law enforcement? John Curran at the FBI’s your man. Law? Matt O’Herron at Turbitt, O'Herron & Leach PLLC. Finance and investing? John Clark, CEO of Paladin Financial. Non-profit Management? Mark Rohlena, CEO, Catholic Charities in Colorado Springs. Education? See Catholic school principal Frank Nicely.

Whatever you want to do tomorrow, can be achieved on our campus today. Believe it.