University of Georgia
From monthly webinars, online job boards and networking events in Atlanta and beyond, the University of Georgia has a strong alumni networking system. The seeds are planted before graduation, when the university hosts an alumni career fair for current students to connect with possible future employers from around 100 companies as diverse as State Farm to Dish Network and Morgan Stanley.
University of Florida
Across the globe, University of Florida alumni stay in touch across the world via the school’s Gator Clubs in all 50 states and spread across 135 different countries. These regional alumni clubs organize host speakers, cultural and academic activities and offer local networking opportunities. The UF alumni association also helps young graduates find jobs via the usual social media and website networking channels, and alums are usually eager to help each other out.
The Ohio State University
Before graduation, Ohio State students can log-into the Buckeye Careers Network to start looking for internship opportunities and post-graduation job postings from alumni. After earning a degree, young alums can count on the school’s alumni association to help with everything from crafting a resume to connecting them with other Buckeyes in the position to hire.
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State has one of the largest alumni networks in the U.S. with a base that includes more than 645,000 people across the world. As such, students say when seeking jobs they often have an edge because alums will seek out Penn State grads for jobs at their companies. Alums can also take advantage of virtual networking events, career fairs, regional happy hours and much more.
Graduates of Clemson University can count on a strong alumni network after earning their degree. The school has more than 136,000 grads, many with strong professional ties. Clemson’s alumni association offers graduates a myriad of services to help from job board postings to regional networking events and connections with recruiting agencies.
University of Virginia
At the University of Virginia recent grads can meet other alums in their city at networking parties organized by the Young Alumni Council, as well as school-sponsored reunions. UVA, which counts Katie Couric and Tina Fey among its most famous alums, really puts an emphasis on curating connections that lead to job opportunities for its newest alumni.
Bucknell University may not have the country’s largest alumni network, but its 52,000-plus graduates around the globe remain connected long after graduation. From reunion and homecoming events back on campus to local networking and volunteer activities sponsored by regional alumni clubs, Bucknellians actively support their alma mater. The school also helps recent graduates network through social media like LinkedIn, where they can make professional connections with other Bucknell grads.
This small liberal arts college in Schenectady, New York has less than 2,500 students, but includes an impressive alumni roster that goes all the way back to William Henry Seward, who served as the secretary of state under president Abraham Lincoln.
At the Becker Career Center current Union College students can work with volunteer alumni in their field on polishing resumes and cover letters and doing mock job interviews. Post graduation, you’ll be able to take advantage of the alumni network through various web and real life networking events sponsored by the college.
New College of Florida
Long after they graduate, alumni from the New College of Florida, a public liberal arts school in Sarasota, stay involved with their alma mater, helping current students in a number of capacities. Whether serving as mentors, working on independent study projects or hosting campus events, the process of getting to know alumni begins before graduation.
With more than one out of every three alumni giving back to the school financially after graduation, Emory University also has a strong alumni networking system. Founded in 1836, Emory is known for its well-respected liberal arts program through nine different schools and colleges. The school also has post-graduate programs in law, medicine business and nursing, and alumni have high earning potential. The Alumni Association has more than 133,000 members and alums like to give back, showing up at social opportunities for new graduates as well as mentoring and career fairs. There are alumni clubs organized by both profession and location, which helps make networking more relevant and effective. Grads are also eligible for discounts on a variety of services.
Southern Methodist University
From former first lady Laura Bush to Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates and the founder of Toms Shoes Blake Mycoskie, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas has a diverse and distinguished alumni pool for graduates to network with.
The school hosts a career and internship fair each spring that is open to current students and young alumni and aims to match them with top companies from Oracle to AT&T. Post graduation, students can network through the SMU’s web portal and also via their strong social media presence, including on LinkedIn, which is considered the most valuable of the professional networks, and regional club events across the country and back on campus.
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna gives current students a running start when it comes to navigating the post graduation job world through its Mentor Connect program. The formal 10-week program hooks undergrads up with an alumni working in a field that interests them. Internships also can play an integral part in getting a job in the real world, and Claremont McKenna also maintains a large internship database for students to apply to.
Post graduation, the alumni association organizes more than 200 events around the world each year. These happen through regional clubs, homecoming weekends back on campus and the alumni travel program The later is a cool concept that not all schools offer, but allows alums to connect through an organized, educationally focused (usually led by a Claremont professor) and themed trip to a foreign destination – recent adventures included studying WWII in England and France and cruises to the Galapagos Islands.
Michelle Obama is one of Princeton’s super star alumni, and the Ivy League school has an active network of former students eager to help out new grads in a diverse range of fields, from tech to teaching. The school runs a TigerNet website that requires log-in and lets graduates search for information on other alums as well as post and directly apply for jobs. Princeton’s Alumni Association also runs the usual regional clubs and events back at the school like class reunions, homecoming weekends and even career conferences.
Princeton alumni are also known for donating more than time back to their alma mater. According the US News more than 62 percent of Princeton alums also give money, in the some of around $400 million collectively, to the school each year.
St. Lawrence University
A small liberal arts school in New York, St. Lawrence has a very enthusiastic alumni network, with graduates actively participating programs with current students and young alums. The school runs a Shadow a Saint program that matches undergraduates with an alumni mentor in their desired field of study to shadow for up to a week. After graduation, the alumni association helps recent grads connect through regional clubs and virtual networking.
Speaking of wealth, the school that has the country’s wealthiest alumni overall is Harvard University, which is also the oldest university in the U.S. founded back in 1636. The schools wealthiest alums are worth a combined $622 billion, and the school counts 52 billionaires among its graduates, the highest number of all the universities, according to ABC News. They also give back to the school with alumni giving at 37%.
Along with all this money, connections made at Harvard go deeper than nearly any other school, and graduates often feel like members of a very exclusive club. The Harvard Alumni Association maintains its own web portal, as well as a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and encourages students to get involved even before they graduate.
When it comes to earning really big money, Northwestern graduates rake in a lot of cash. In fact, the 451 wealthiest Northwestern grads are worth a collective $46 billion, according to ABC News. After they start earning, Northwestern grads remember their undergraduate roots, and tend to give back with 31 percent of alumni financially contributing to the school.
Alumni financial contributions can be a good indicator of a strong alumni network – the theory being that those who give monetarily will also be invested in helping future students network and find jobs. And at Northwestern this rings true. The esteemed university just outside of Chicago has an active alumni association that hosts networking, mentoring and ongoing education courses. It also keeps graduates virtually connected through its web portal and via social media groups. Real life events are also planned throughout the year, both on campus and through regional alumni club.
University of Pennsylvania
Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740 the University of Pennsylvania counts 25 living billionaires among the graduates from its various schools, including the prestigious Wharton School of Business.
From annual alumni awards to an online book club, the Penn Alumni Association is creative in its networking, which is what you would expect from a school that counts eight Declaration of Independence signers among its most distinguished graduates. The school’s alumni associate runs QuakerNet, a log-in required networking site that allows graduates search for each other and also to post and apply for jobs.
Lehigh really goes out of its way to foster relationships with former students long after graduation. The alumni here are thought of like family on the university’s part, and the feeling is reciprocated as alumni go out of their way to work with students even before graduation. The school hosts events like the Conference of Accounting Professionalism that allow undergrads to work directly with alumni executives from major firms during a weeklong program.
After graduation, young alums can network in a number of ways. One option is to join the Lehigh University Alumni Group on LinkedIn, which has more than 10,000 members at this point. The school also hosts regional alumni clubs that at minimum host annual networking events, known as career networking receptions, where alums have the chance to meet and talk shop in person with others in their area. These are a great way to really interact with other alums in person.
Hillary Clinton’s alma mater has a powerful alumni network that includes Diane Sawyer and Madeline Albright. The private women’s liberal arts college is one of the most competitive in the country to attend, but after graduation these women stick together, helping each other network and get jobs, regardless of how many years have passed since graduation.
The school’s alumnae association offers the usual devoted alumni website and regional networking events, but also lets alums connect based on shared mutual interests. There are alumnae shared interest and discussion groups for nearly everyone: from alumnae affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders to those in the Peace Corps or Wellesley alums in the military among others.
After graduating from Dartmouth, it’s easy to stay connected through the school’s robust alumni network. Dartmouth not only maintains a strong social media presence and options for virtual networking, but alumni are active in nearly 100 geographical clubs across the world. The school’s alumni association also focuses on affiliated and shared interest groups, like an alumni travel program, that offer less obvious networking options.
“(Alums) love to stay involved with the college and are often willing to talk to current students about careers — and many have been known to give internships and jobs to Dartmouth students,” a student told the Princeton Review.
Big name Dartmouth graduates include private-equity billionaire Leon Black and screenwriter and actress Mindy Kaling.
Virginia Polytechnic and State University
Virginia Tech puts a lot of effort into its alumni networking. The school runs the Hokie Nation Network, a web portal for alumni interested in professional networking opportunities with fellow Hokies. They also have a large presence on LinkedIn with some 124,000 Hokies using the site, and the group pages the school has set up, to connect with each other.
Additionally, you’ll find alumni clubs across the country, and an impressive alumni travel club. Run by the Virginia Tech Alumni Associate, the travel tours cross the globe and are open only to alumni and their family and friends. This allows you not only to travel in an educational group capacity, but the networking opportunities that can be leveraged from doing so can be boundless.
Texas A&M University
When it comes to displaying school pride post graduation, few universities can compete with Texas A&M. Aggies are fiercely loyal to their alma mater and will go out of their way to help out other graduates. This may be through formal networking set up by the school’s alumni association or, Texas style, casually, after running into someone else wearing the famed Aggie graduation ring.
The Association of Former Students manages the official networking for young graduates, helping them create masterful resumes, nail job interviews and learn how to effectively network in modern society. They also help connect alumni living in the same cities by hosting happy hours or sporting event meet-ups.
Within a year of graduating from this small liberal arts in Pennsylvania, 98% of students either obtain a job or go on to graduate school, according to the school’s website. It’s an impressive statistic that can be in traced, at least in part, to a strong alumni-networking program.
With clubs across the country, graduates get together for regional events from networking nights to happy hours and cultural performances. Alumni also play an integral role in mentoring students before graduation by offering everything from summer internships to career advice and on-campus networking receptions to undergraduates.
Stanford’s alumni network runs more than 217,000 deep, including a host of big name graduates from President Herbert Hoover to Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. And like at Colgate, networking at this top tier school begins early, way before graduation.
First, Stanford runs a program where alums volunteer to work with undergraduates interested in a specific field post graduation to help them figure out the best path to success. And the school also uses its strong alumni network to help students obtain top summer internships, which can be integral to getting a job after earning your degree.
“The summer of his freshman year our son was offered a paid internship at a start-up founded by a Stanford graduate familiar with the courses that he’d taken,” a parent of a Stanford undergrad told us.
It all pays off, because Stanford grads have some of the highest median starting salaries in the country – Forbes recently ranked the school at No. 3. This is especially true for grads heading into the tech or engineering communities, where salaries can start as high as $150,000.
Stanford also provides graduates with plenty of help networking through its CareerConnect job board that allows alums to list job openings exclusively for Stanford grads.
The small liberal arts college in Hamilton, New York where Becky Bye graduated from has one of the strongest alumni networks in the country and counts many power players among its graduates, including Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen.
Colgate promotes the importance of forming relationships with classmates, faculty, and alumni from the moment a student accepts an admission offer.
“During my time as a student at Colgate, I felt that my education was enriched by the alumni network, and I witnessed firsthand the willingness of alumni to help students in various aspects,” says Bye. “My first experience with this was when I emailed the then-President of the Columbia University Children’s Hospital (and also a Colgate alum) about my interest in healthcare and pursuing an internship that summer in New York City. Within days, I landed an internship with a world-renown heart surgeon at Columbia Hospital for this summer–who was a colleague of the Colgate alum.”
Bye says that throughout her time at Colgate it was apparent that alumni were loyal and eager to give back to the Colgate community:
“Throughout my time at Colgate, I had encounters with alumni, and the pride for Colgate was consistent… The passion for Colgate was contagious.”
Upon graduation, Colgate students are proud to continue the tradition of giving back to the school. Bye thinks one reason this is so strong, is the school cares less about financial donations than emotional investments from its alumni.
“Another thing to note is that I think many schools give off the impression that once you graduate, they no longer care about you unless you are a donor. With Colgate, this is not the case,” she says. “It is clear that Colgate wants to remain a part of the lives and thoughts of alumni, even if they feel that they cannot financially give back to the school. Colgate makes it clear that its career services, library, networking, and other resources are always there for us.”