CLEMSON — Clemson University graduates are finding jobs at nearly twice the national average and the results of a recent survey may go a long way toward explaining why. The 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) found that two-thirds of Clemson seniors had significant hands-on experience as part of their college educations.

The survey showed that 67 percent of Clemson seniors reported having an internship, field experience, clinical assignment or practicum — a supervised practical application of classroom learning. That’s significantly above the average of 50 percent for the more than 750 colleges and universities across the nation that participated in the survey and 48 percent for public universities in the Southeast.

The NSSE survey also found that 38 percent of Clemson seniors had worked on a research project with a faculty member outside of class, compared to a national average of 20 percent. As well, 77 percent reported working with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments.

“Employers have come to expect Clemson graduates to not only be well educated, but to be well prepared to use their education in professional settings,” said Neil Burton, director of Clemson’s Michelin Career Center. “This is a testament to the drive and work ethic of Clemson students, and to the commitment of the university to have every student meaningfully engage what has been learned in the classroom.”

According to Burton, for 2010-11, 34 percent of Clemson students either had a full time job offer in hand or had committed to a branch of the armed services before graduating. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported a 2011 national average of 18 percent.

The National Survey of Student Engagement obtains information annually from hundreds of four-year colleges and universities nationwide about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. Survey items on the survey represent empirically confirmed “good practices” in undergraduate education. They reflect behaviors by students and institutions that are associated with desired outcomes of college. For more information about NSSE, go to http://nsse.iub.edu/.

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Ranked 25th among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit, and a competitive drive to excel.