committing to success
The Gold Commitment is both a commitment to the liberal arts, long the gold standard of higher education, and to the success of each and every DePauw student, who will take their place as leaders — not just in the workplace, but in the world.
Our alumni embody this commitment. They spread far and wide, shaping industry and transforming communities wherever they go. And they begin making their mark just as soon as they leave DePauw.
We like to talk about our high success rate in the mid-nineties for recent graduates, which varies from year to year. But that’s just short of perfect. The Gold Commitment began with a question: What would it take to get that number to 100 percent?
- What is the Gold Commitment?
- Why is DePauw doing this?
- Will the entry-level professional opportunity be in the graduate's area of interest?
- Who is going to give graduates the professional opportunity? Is DePauw going to hire them all?
- What is the student's responsibility within the Commitment?
- What happens if a student participates fully in the Commitment pathway but doesn’t get a job or isn't accepted into graduate school?
- Does DePauw provide free tuition and room and board?
- Is the job DePauw offers a full-time job?
- Which employers will hire students who don’t get a job on their own?
The Commitment is primarily about two things – DePauw’s commitment to the liberal arts, which we believe to be the gold standard for higher education, and DePauw’s commitment to each and every student. DePauw’s graduates have always been very successful, but now students are investing more than ever in their college education. We want to assure them they will get a return on that investment and that they are free to pursue their passion.
The vast majority of students who graduate in good standing, within four years, and fully participate in their education and job search will obtain a job on their own or be accepted into graduate school. It is the intention of the Gold Commitment that every student will have this outcome within six months of graduation. For the few who might not, they can return during a fall or spring term, tuition-free, to further hone their skills, or DePauw will secure for them a professional, entry level position for a minimum of six months.
The Commitment is also a pledge to our alumni that their DePauw degree will hold its value due to the high quality of our education, and many of our alumni work to help DePauw students and graduates to have the same opportunities that they had.
DePauw graduates have had successful outcomes for 180 years. Our reasons for the additional depth of our Commitment are very straightforward: 1) There is an assurance gap – families are justifiably worried that an investment that can be at the level of a house might not pay off; the Commitment enables us to assure them that it does. It’s not enough that current students are already successful; they need assurance that they will continue to be so. 2) National data shows that the 15-17 year olds readying themselves for college are worried about employment; they’ve seen their families struggle during the Great Recession. They are saying loud and clear that they want experience, and at its core the Commitment is about fusing academics with practical experiences and ensuring each student is individually advised on connecting these pathways.
We believe the world needs DePauw graduates. While technology and industry continue to transform, collaborative problem solvers are needed in every type of endeavor. Employers are experiencing a shortfall in people who know how to think clearly, read and write well and have probing, inquisitive mindsets. These aspects of the education we offer are lasting, but the need for them has become greater over the last two decades. Our Commitment provides us internally with an intense focus on student outcomes, and externally meets the needs of new generations.
We want to emphasize again that we don’t believe the vast majority of our students will need our help in pursuing their post-graduation path, but for those who follow the Commitment pathway, we’ll make sure they find that first entry level position where they can prove themselves and obtain additional experience. For the small number of students who need our help, our recommendations, leads and – ultimately – jobs, will be based on what that individual student is interested in, in situations that motivate and interest that student, and in causes, issues and opportunities that each student can contribute to in a meaningful way.
Based on previous graduate success, we expect less than 5% to pursue the guarantee, but for those who do, the positions and organizations will vary. Dozens of alumni-led or owned organizations already hire DePauw alumni and are proud to do so, and dozens of top employers regularly seek out and employ DePauw graduates.
To date, many Trustees and alumni have already offered to support the Commitment by hiring graduates who participate in the Commitment, just as they already do in general. Our connections, professional and academic, in many fields will provide the doorway to job opportunities for many. Career counseling, internship opportunities and professional associations will also provide opportunities for networking during their experience. For those small numbers of students who have not found employment on their own or been placed with an employer, we will assist them with our connections.
Above all, we expect students to be members in good standing of the larger community and to represent themselves and DePauw with character and integrity. They must be responsible members of this community.
Next, they must participate fully in the opportunities within our student pathways, and the university is prepared to advise them from day one to ensure they are not only advancing in their studies, but taking advantages of hands-on experiences DePauw provides, or that they discover on their own. Finally, they must actively seek a career path or graduate school acceptance, with which DePauw can also help them. Participating in and reflecting on co-curricular activities that are readily available will be part of the requirements if they want to take advantage of the guarantee. Once again, most students are already doing these things and more, but the Commitment helps us codify these in a holistic way.
Specifically, here are the Commitment's student eligibility requirements:
- Fulfill curricular requirements and graduate within 8 semesters [ten (10) semesters for those in a double degree program].
- Adhere to the standards set out in the DePauw University Academic Integrity Policy (as defined in the Student Handbook) with no lapses that result in an entry in the student’s permanent record.
- Participate in career discernment and preparation program during the six months subsequent to graduation if still looking for a post-graduation opportunity.
- Fulfill the requirements of the Experience Portfolio.
- Complete 12 Explore Activities prior to graduation - at least four of these will be in the content area of Career and Life Planning, at least four in Civic and Global Learning, and at least four in Communication and Collaboration.
- Complete one Bridge Reflection. In their time at DePauw, students will complete one or more applied learning experiences, such as internships, research, off-campus study, civic engagement, etc. Between the summer leading into their Junior year and prior to August 1 leading into their Senior year, they will write and submit for approval a Bridge Reflection that shows how their liberal arts education and applied learning experiences have informed one another.
- Attend DePauw Dialogue Yearly.
- Attend annual class-year specific Gold Commitment Professional Programming.
Good Community Citizen
- Remain a student in good standing (as defined in the DePauw University Student Handbook) throughout enrollment with no violation of the University’s Title IX Policy that results in deferred suspension or suspension or community standards infraction that results in deferred suspension or suspension as defined in the Student Handbook.
- Have no criminal conviction other than traffic violations.
- Fulfill all financial obligations to DePauw by date of graduation.
What happens if a student participates fully in the Commitment pathway but doesn’t get a job or isn't accepted into graduate school?
This is a rare occurrence at DePauw. We could not make this guarantee if we were not confident in the outcome. The few who are not in graduate school or in their first job within six months are usually intentionally pursuing a different path. But certainly, for various reasons, a student might need the guarantee. If they have graduated within the Commitment, we will provide them an employment opportunity or the chance to hone their skills and knowledge for an additional Fall or Spring term, tuition free.
On-campus housing is 100% undergraduate, so room and board is not included. We also expect that returning students, having established more independence, will prefer to live off campus and be part of the Greencastle community.
It’s important to note that this is not a ‘placement service,’ and we expect students to invest fully in the job networking and career services opportunities we provide them, and to apply for positions on their own. For the few who might not be successful within the first six months of graduating, we’ll arrange a six-month professional position, enough time to build skills and references and for students to prove themselves. It could lead to longer-term employment, but we guarantee six months.
These will vary widely and there may be different ones each year. Dozens of alumni-led or owned organizations are proud to hire DePauw alumni, and many more top employers already seek out and employ DePauw graduates. The Outcomes page includes a list of companies who currently regularly hire DePauw graduates; at any given time, those companies are likely to change or revolve.
For Current Students
Whether you know what you're going to be or you're still trying to figure that out, you'll build a portfolio of experiences in and outside the classroom that deepen and broaden your life.
We're confident in your success. And we aren't alone. Find out why our alumni say the liberal arts experience at DePauw prepares students for life.