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St. Thomas Degree Offers ROI for Graduates

For many college students, earning a degree is about achieving a return on investment in their careers. At University of St. Thomas, the return on investment is in both careers and character.

UST Ranked Top College for Return on Investment

University of St. Thomas has been ranked a top college in Texas for return on investment by “AC Online: Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Texas” identifies the 49 colleges in Texas where degrees pay off the most; graduates from these schools earn more over their lifetimes, on average, than graduates from other Texas schools.

AC Online used the following criteria for fully accredited, four-year, not-for-profit institutions
in its college ranking: tuition and fees, graduate's average starting salaries and ROI calculation as provided by PayScale.

Most UST Graduates Employed After Graduation

In UST’s 2013 Graduate Outcomes Survey, conducted by the UST Office of Career Services and Testing, 67 percent of graduates with undergraduate degrees were employed three to six months after graduation; 23 percent were attending graduate school, and 20 percent were seeking employment.  The survey is compiled three months to six months after graduation with a response rate of 27 percent, as of Sept. 24.

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St. Thomas Degree Offers ROI for Graduates

UST Prepares Students for Careers

Of the survey respondents, 73 percent of 2013 undergraduate students surveyed felt they were adequately prepared for their first career-related position.

Lindsey McPherson, director of career services and testing and dean of students, said critical thinking skills, the ability to write and a foundation in ethics make St. Thomas students attractive to employers.

“Employers need people who are well-rounded and can really think,” McPherson said. “The biggest quality that our students have is the ability to think critically across all disciplines. They don’t just know their area of study, but they can communicate it and discuss it with others.”

Full-time employers for UST students include Marathon Oil, AIG, Baylor College of Medicine, United Airlines and Houston Independent School District.

Character Makes Alumni Attractive to Employers and Grad Schools

McPherson said that UST’s core curriculum teaches critical thinking skills and exposes them to subjects outside their major to help prepare students for their careers.

“I think most of our alumni have been successful because of that, and employers come back and say ‘I want another employee like that.’ Because of their ethics, grounded in philosophy and theology, they are well-rounded students who can look at their work from all facets.”

About 84 percent of undergraduates surveyed reported they developed tools that will assist them in effectively dealing with moral and ethical questions.

Of all undergraduates and graduate alumni prior to Class of 2012, top companies that employed graduates include HISD, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, ChevronTexaco and Hewlett-Packard, according to Office of Institutional Advancement data from 27 percent of the 18,569 graduates at the time.

Class of 2013 undergraduates went on to study at graduate schools including Catholic University of America, University of Texas School of Dentistry, University of Houston Law Center, Rice University, Tulane University and University of St. Thomas. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents felt they were adequately prepared for graduate or professional school.

Small Classes Mean Faculty Invest in Students

McPherson said UST’s small classroom environment and opportunities for research help students build strong relationships with their faculty members who can recommend them for jobs or graduate school.

“We have the small hands-on classroom, and because of that, you get to know your faculty, and you get to know their network, and that’s something that can be invaluable,” she said. “Because they know you, they don’t have hesitation in recommending you to employers and to their own network.”

In a school where 93 percent of undergraduate students surveyed reported they felt faculty were interested in their success, faculty also invest in the students for a return in their character and careers.

“The more our students go out and impress their employers – which is what they’re doing – the more the employers return to recruit our students, so it’s a win-win all around,” she said.