Want to know how well USC prepares its students for their academic and career goals? Ask a Trojan.
Over the past decade, the USC Alumni Association (USCAA) has polled alumni every other year to assess their opinions about their experiences as students and graduates. The verdict from the 2015 survey: USC alumni are proud of USC and they’re ready to take on the world.
After graduation, Trojans overwhelmingly felt prepared to tackle their career and academic goals (see bottom chart). Attending USC was an “excellent” or “good” decision for 95 percent of respondents. More than 90 percent of respondents also noted that the value of and respect for their degree was the most significant factor in their opinion about USC. A high number of Trojan veterans—almost 1,000—participated in the survey, and the USCAA hopes to continue strengthening ties through the popular Alumni Veterans Network.
The survey also provides a look into the activities alumni participated in when they were students. Results show that alumni had been active in groups on campus—nearly half of respondents were in a professional or career-related organization as students. Slightly more than 30 percent took part in community service and more than a quarter played recreational sports.
“This gives insight into what might engage and interest them as alumni,” says Patrick Auerbach EdD ’08, associate senior vice president for alumni relations. “For example, if we’re seeing that as students, they’re involved in professional organizations, we want to find ways they can do that after graduation.” The USCAA has found success with industry networks that link alumni through their shared experiences, such as the Trojan Entertainment Network group. The organization hopes to add more networking opportunities with other groups, including younger alumni and alumni located in cities like Washington, D.C. and New York.
Alumni are open and eager for more networking, career and mentoring opportunities, according to the survey. Earlier this year, USCAA redesigned its website and unveiled a new FightOn! app to make it easier for alumni to connect with each other. “We’re also looking into more virtual and digital options to overcome time and geographic barriers for Trojans who can’t make it to campus or to after-work events,” Auerbach says. “We want to stay ahead of the curve.”
Another way USCAA plans to stay one step ahead will be through the residential college experience. USC Village opens in 2017 and Auerbach has already anticipated the “transformational experience of student living” in the 15-acre residential-retail complex. For a new generation of Trojans, USC Village will be where lifelong friendships, memories and the “Fight On!” spirit will be forged—all key engagement points for future alumni.
Thinking of new ways to connect will be important as well, as results also showed that USC alumni stay in touch with their alma mater through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn more often than alumni from other schools. “Alumni want to engage and explore on their own schedule,” Auerbach says. “So digital and on-demand platforms are a great opportunity for us to stay relevant and accessible to the Trojan Family.”