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How do recent Princeton graduates compare to first-years and previous graduates?

A wide array of Princeton graduates, many of whom are wearing black and orange jackets, line bleachers inside a dim gymnasium.
Princeton graduates congregate inside Dillon Gymnasium.
Ryland Graham / The Daily Princetonian

Following the release of The Daily Princetonian’s third annual Senior Survey, Data writers and editors analyze and compare the data with other surveys, including the inaugural Class of 1999 Alumni Survey and the inaugural Class of 2024 Frosh Survey. This piece will continuously be updated with their analyses. 

Class of 2024 more likely to “sell-out” than the Class of 1999

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By staff Data writer Kate Alvarez

Between career fairs, Handshake appointments, LinkedIn networking, and resume workshops, it seems as if Princeton students can never stop building professional profiles. 

In an analysis of the career fields the Class of 2024 plans on entering after graduation and the most recent career fields of the Class of 1999, we found significant shifts towards engineering and technology. Twenty percent of respondents from the Class of 2024 are going into engineering, software engineering, and technology, compared to nine percent of the Class of 1999. Notably, close to half of the Class of 1999 are not in the field they thought they would be in upon graduation — perhaps a mark of the evolving set of career paths over the past 25 years.

In both Classes, Finance is a popular field, making up slightly over 10 percent of career prospects. In the Class of 1999, many are in the fields of Law, Medicine, and Business. These three fields account for 38 percent of respondents of the Class of 1999 — yet only 13.5 percent for the Class of 2024. However, “Graduate School and/or Academia” is the most popular postgraduate path for the Class of 2024 and that includes law, medical, and business school — thus, the Class of 2024 may end up with a higher percentage of the class working in Law, Medicine, or Business by the time of their 25th Reunions.

A recent New York Times article analyzed graduating students at elite colleges “selling out.” Focusing on the Harvard Crimson Senior Survey, and corroborated by Princeton’s own Career Center survey, they found increases over the past decade in the percentage of each class entering finance, consulting, engineering, and technology jobs. According to the numbers the ‘Prince’ has, for the Class of 1999, 23 percent currently hold roles in those four career fields, including software engineering. 36 percent of the Class of 2024 will follow the same path, one percent lower than those in the Class of 2023.

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When offering advice to current and graduating students, several members of the Class of 1999 discussed the importance of finding a career one loves, writing “don’t worry too much about the money.”

Back in March, when the 2024 Senior Survey was conducted, 42.9 percent of the Class reported not having a job lined up for after graduation. At the time, the percentage of A.B. students without plans were more than double the percent of unemployed B.S.E. students, with 25.4 percent of engineers compared to 53 percent of A.B. students. Certain post-graduate paths, such as graduate school, or finance and consulting, are generally determined farther in advance than others.

As opposed to almost half of recent grads, only 8.3 percent of the Class of 1999 reported not currently being employed for pay. Employed for pay or not, 85.3 percent of the Class of 1999 report that they have discovered their life’s meaning. So, a fulfilling life and career might be just around the corner for the Class of 2024.

Kate Alvarez is a staff Data writer for The Daily Princetonian.

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