For the graduates of many colleges and universities, if they look back over the course of their college career, there is often one signature moment (or class or experience) that defines it.
For the 1,900 current students at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, a series of signature learning experiences are just part of their everyday education.
And what is a signature learning experience? you ask.
At E-Town, they break it into five specific categories: supervised student research (undergraduate, of course), internships or field research, cross-cultural experiences (including – but not limited to – study abroad), community-based learning, and a capstone course that culminates in a portfolio, publication, or performance to encapsulate what a student has learned over the course of four years. What’s more, each student at the college will complete at least two of those experiences during their four years – if not all five! The goal of each experience is to take the traditional liberal arts model and use it to prepare students for their future careers by applying classroom lessons in real-world settings.
And does it work?
E-Town publishes its graduate outcomes in a different manner than most of its peer and competitor colleges – that is, they survey each and every graduate and report each and every outcome for those graduates (as opposed to just reporting their outcomes based on the graduates who choose to respond). It’s a time-consuming process, but it means that their outcome data is rock solid and an accurate representation of the type of alumni they produce each year.
The most recent data reports that 92 percent of E-Town graduates are working or have entered graduate school within one year of graduating.
No doubt it also helps that any E-Town alumnus or alumna who needs career service support after graduation (or even after being in the working world for many years) can go back and get support from the career staff at any time for no charge. And, as with many small colleges, E-Town graduates like to network and work with other E-Town graduates so the network is fairly wide and deep.
What fields do E-Town graduates go into when their time on the campus is finished? The school is known for its five year, direct entry occupational therapy program and a direct admit physical therapy program and there are also programs in peace and conflict studies and in the arts and humanities, as well as a law school. (Conclusion: E-Town graduates go everywhere.)
Good news, equestrians – E-Town has an equestrian club that aspires to compete as part of the IHSA one day (though they are currently a social and service organization). The school is also located in a region that provides a variety of equestrian-related opportunities and where horse farms are easily found. (Chocolate lovers – the campus is also located close enough to Hershey that, when the wind blows in from the right direction, the whole place smells like chocolate. It’s worth noting.)