15 Best College Alumni Networks

alumni-networks

Life is all about making connections, and success in any field depends greatly on the kind of people you meet and connect with.

Alumni help spread the university’s name and reputation. They carry the torch for the university’s appeal to future students.

This is why universities have alumni associations and even alumni awards programs to recognize the participation and importance of former students to the development and progress of the college. It’s never easy for new graduates to find a job or land an interview.

The problem and fear of unemployment is always around the corner, so alumni networking events are such a huge help in connecting with other people who could help the graduate land a job.

Educational research reveals that there are often more graduates than jobs.

With the rapid rise of technology, many jobs don’t even require more people anymore. So, when you study in a university, it’s always important to see how strong its alumni connections are, when it comes to support and job hunting.

Also, connecting with older former students can help senior college students and recent graduates see the path they want to take in their lives. Perhaps you weren’t meant to be a politician like you always thought you would be. Maybe you really wanted to be a game developer, and having connected with an alumni working in a gaming industry helped make up your mind.

Here are the colleges with the best alumni networks, according to the 2016 Princeton Review ranking:

Dartmouth College

dartmouth-ivy-league

image source: youvisit.com

Location:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Famous Alumni:

Writers Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Robert Frost; politicians Daniel Webster, Timothy Geithner, entrepreneurs Shonda Rhimes, Nelson Rockefeller; celebrities Mindy Kaling, Meryl Streep

About Dartmouth College Alumni Network: 

One of the Ivy League schools, Dartmouth College has over 66,000 former students. With many of its former students in major positions around the world, Dartmouth College students can rely on alumni help in securing jobs, finding opportunities for professional growth, and getting promotions.

The alumni are constantly involved in the current students’ activities, and many of them who were Greek members in college continue to support their younger “brothers” and “sisters”.

Part of the Dartmouth tradition is the Senior Class Gift, which is a fundraising to help students in need of financial aid. Every $1,000 raised goes to one freshman’s financial support. This tradition has been going on for a little more than a decade.

Alumni from this college can get the following benefits: exclusive digital library, alumni travel programs, museum tours, and sports games.

Pennsylvania State-University Park

penn-state-alumni-network

image source: global.psu.edu

Location:

University Park, Pennsylvania

Famous Alumni:

Penn State is well-known for its roster of athletes – John Amaechi, David Aardsma, Tamba Hali, Mike Scioscia, LaVar Armington, Sean Lee, Frank Brickowski, Alisha Glass, Ali Krieger, Matt McGloin

About Pennsylvania State Alumni Network:

Penn State is not an Ivy League member (although it’s often confused with the Ivy League one, the University of Pennsylvania), but it’s academic and athletic tracks are of the same quality and prestige. The university has over 24 campuses in total, spread around the nearby areas.

It has one of the largest student populations in the entire country (with 46,800 students enrolled), and according to the alumni website, the Penn State Alumni Association, it is the “largest dues-paying organization” across the globe. In fact, it has more than 645,000 total alumni since the university’s establishment.

The association recently launched a pilot program to connect alumni with Penn State online students.

Benefits to being an alumni member include: Free access to three Penn State magazines, alumni events and fundraisers, discounts for electricity bills (in selected states), home and auto insurance, life and medical insurance, vacation (TravelBlue), Penn State publications, Penn State bookstore, class ring, Holy Transfer moving services, and Kaplan Test preparations.

Texas A&M University-College Station

alumni-association-texas-a-and-m

image source: tamu.edu

Location:

College Station, Texas

Famous Alumni:

Politicians Jorge Quiroga, Martin Torrijos, Rick Perry; athletes Lee Roy Caffey, John David Crow; war veterans Horace S. Carswell, Jr., Clarence E. Sasser, Jay T. Robbins; entrepreneurs Khalid A. Al-Falih, Eduardo Castro-Wright, Charles E. Toberman

About Texas A&M Alumni Network:

Texas A&M University in College Station is the flagship college of the Texas A&M University system, and is the oldest higher education institution in Texas. It has over 440,378 former students, and an alumni association called the Association of Former Students.

Its students are sometimes called “Texas Aggies”, since the college began as an agricultural and mechanical school (where the A&M comes from).

Benefits for the alumni are: travel programs, Aggie football games, career services and networking events, and the Texas Aggie magazine, published six times a year.

Alumni are also granted access to tools and directories to help them compose a sterling resume, score an interview, and connect with prospective business partners.

Claremont McKenna College

claremont-mckenna-college

image source: cmc.edu

Location:

Claremont, California

Famous Alumni:

Politicians Steve Bullock, Patrick J. Conroy, Tyler Olson; entrepreneurs Michael S. Jeffries, Ashwin Navin, Christopher Mark Theodore, Daniel Kan

About Claremont McKenna Alumni Network

One of the most expensive private colleges in the United States, and part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, Claremont McKenna College offers a Mentor Connect program to its current students.

Through the program, students get a “mentor”, an alumnus pursuing the field that the current student is on. Sometimes, students are matched with a mentor who has the same experience or interest. The mentor gives the student advice, information, and insider knowledge for 10 weeks.

Although the college doesn’t state how many alumni it serves, there are currently around 10,000 members of the alumni association.

The alumni can gain access to several things: career services, email forwarding services, travel programs, homecoming and other events, borrowing privileges at the Honnold-Mudd Library, and medical insurance.

Wabash College

alumni-network-university-wabash

image source: wabash.edu

Location:

Crawfordsville, Indiana

Famous Alumni:

Politicians John Coburn, Philip L. Boyd, Charles S. Hartman; writer Dan Simmons, and cartoonist Dave Gerard; actors Dean Jagger, Max Wright, Parker Sawyers (who stars as a young Barack Obama in the film “Southside with You”)

About Wabash Alumni Network:

Wabash College is a men’s only private college. While other schools offer internships, Wabash offers its students an “externship” program, where students follow around a Wabash alumnus who is working in the field of the current student’s interest.

This program lasts around a month, but can extend if the student wants to join the Professional Immersion Experience. Here, the students try out different positions in the company or industry by joining networking events, career service programs, and site visits.

According to the Princeton Review’s The Best 379 Colleges, Wabash College constantly ranks high (in the top 5) for categories: Jock Schools, and Best Athletic Facilities.

Former graduates from this college can search for and read the college student publication The Bachelor, read and find “notes” or updates or news about their former classmates, and email forwarding.

The college has several fraternities on campus, and the fraternity system and the college work seamlessly together to provide former and current graduates helpful tools to help them in the professional world.

St. Lawrence University

stlawrence-university

image source: blogs.stlawu.edu

Location:

Canton, New York

Famous Alumni:

Politicians William Barclay, Susan Collins, Albert Shaw; actors Kirk Douglas, Jeremy Slate, Peter Duel, Viggo Mortensen; writers Lorrie Moore, Tom Chiarella, Dan Buckley (publisher of “Marvel” comics); athletes Gina Kingsbury, Greg Sutton, Bill Torrey

About St. Lawrence Alumni Network:

One of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges, St. Lawrence University has a program called “Shadow a Saint” that matches a current undergraduate with an alumni working in the area or field of interest.

The program can last up to 7 days, depending on the student and the alumni. It’s a first-come, first-serve basis, and students can search by industry or geographical location.

The university’s alumni association offers webinars and career service programs for alumni looking towards professional development. The association also offers “Scarlet & Brown” tours around the country.

Clemson University

clemson-alumni-network

image source: clemson.edu

Location:

Clemson, South Carolina

Famous Alumni:

Athletes Kris Benson, Lucas Glover, William “Refrigerator” Perry, Brianna Rollins; politicians Ekwee Ethuro, David Beasely, James F. Byrnes

About Clemson Alumni Network:

There are 136,000 Clemson University alumni. The university is a public research institution that is one of the country’s finest. Former students can join Clemson clubs in their hometowns, or join the Clemson Advocates program, which focuses on the importance of Clemson and college education.

Clemson alumni are also able to apply for insurance, a Clemson credit card, and Clemson passport travel.

The university also hosts networking events where recruiting agencies can connect with new graduates. Other alumni are also able to post job ads on the group site so that recent graduates can apply immediately for a job.

The alumni association also actually offers special interest groups for former students: societies for equality, African-American graduates, Chinese alumni, Clemson Corps, MBA students, university band, Construction Science and Management majors, Women’s Council, and the recent graduates (who will belong to the Young Alumni Council).

Hampden-Sydney College

alumni-network-hampden-sydney-college

image source: en.wikipedia.org

Location:

Hampden-Sydney, Virginia

Famous Alumni:

Writers Michael Knight, Scott Cooper, J. Tayloe Emery; actors Skipp Sudduth, William Smithers, Fred Reed; politicians Clement Dickinson, Archibald Buchanan, Jim Harrell, Sterling Price; athletes Tom Miller, Bob Humphreys, Russell D. Turner

About Hampden-Sydney Alumni Network:

The Hampden-Sydney College is the 10th oldest higher education institution in the country, and the oldest in the South. It’s a private, liberal arts college solely for men. The college has a lot of clubs and organizations. A volunteer fire department is also active on the campus. It provides training and aid to the school and the Prince Edward County.

This college is also home to the Union-Philanthropic Literary society, which is the country’s second oldest literary and debating society.

The college has  Tiger Connections, where alumni and school administration post job ads and internship opportunities for students to grab.

Wellesley College

wellesley-alumni-network

image source: Wellesley.edu

Location:

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Famous Alumni:

Entrepreneurs Mary Cunningham Agee, Susan Wagner, Regina Montoya, Ellen Marram; politicians Hillary Clinton (2016 presidential candidate), Eleanor D. Acheson, Carolina Barco, Christine Durham, Cynthia Glassman, Sandra L. Lynch, Reena Raggi, Katherine Shirley; writers Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (real name of “Nancy Drew” series author Carolyn Keene), Ira Trivedi, Santha Rama Rau, Lisa Kleypas, Abigail Garner; actors Barbara Babcock, Laura Allen, Nancy Friday, Barbara Lea

About Wellesley Alumni Network:

Wellesley is an all-women’s liberal arts college. Its curriculum programs allow students to cross-register at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis University, Babson College, and Olin College.

The school has been ranked No. 4 among liberal arts colleges in the country, by the US News and World Report 2016. The alumnae association has around 35,000 members.

The college has over 100 clubs around the world, and every alumna can take advantage of its directory to locate an alum or join a club (according to affinity, interest, and Greek societies). Travel programs are also available for alumnae, and the edX online courses by Wellesley College are accessible to all.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

virginia-tech

image source: en.wikipedia.org

Location:

Blacksburg, Virginia

Famous Alumni:

Actors Azita Ghanizada, Sara Erikson, Collette Wolfe; writers Sharyn McCrumb, Mala Kumar, William Shea, Homer Hickam; politicians António Pinto Barbosa, William Dodd, Deborah Hersman; entrepreneurs Jim Buckmaster (CEO of Craigslist), Jess Cliffe (co-creator of Counter Striker)

About Virginia Polytechnic Institute Alumni Network:

Known popularly as “Virginia Tech”, this public university has the largest research portfolio in the entire Virginia state. It also has one of the best engineering programs among public colleges in the country.

To help their alumni, the university has a Hokies4Hire program, which lets students view job ads, coops, and internship opportunities.

The alumni association has more than 130 chapters around the country, with activities like golf tournaments, job fairs, wine festivals, and monthly luncheons, which allow graduates to network and connect with future managers, employers, or clients.

Virginia Tech fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha was recently banned for 10 years for a hazing incident.

The association also offers travel tours and services like emergency assistance program, Liberty Mutual auto and home insurance, AlumniMortgage, and VirginiaTech health and life insurance

University of Virginia

university-of-virginia

image source: Virginia.edu

Location:

Charlottesville, Virginia

Famous Alumni:

Writer Edgar Allan Poe; artist George O’Keefe; actors Tina Fey, Ben Mackenzie; politicians Woodrow Wilson, Robert MT Hunter, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Leroy Hassell, Stanley Forman Reed; Pulitzer Prize winners Edward P. Jones, Virginius Dabney, Michael Vitez, Henry Taylore

About University of Virginia Alumni Network:

The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, has over 221,000 graduates.

It’s the only college recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the entire world. Its Board of Visitors included notable people like former presidents and Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

The university’s academic and athletic programs are constantly on the top of national lists. Forbes Magazine, in its most recent ranking, has the University of Virginia in the No. 4 spot among public universities, and No. 3 in the US News and World Report 2016 Ranking.

Its alumni association has helpful resources for its recent (and not-so-recent) graduates. Its Young Alumni Council is for UVA who have graduated in the recent 12 years.

There are more than 100 UVA clubs for alumni and parents of any alumni around the world. The alumni network also helps any graduate who moves to a new city for a job. The association’s “City Parties” serve as a way for graduates to meet fellow alumni who can show them the ropes in their new neighborhood.

Cavalier Admissions Volunteer program also employs alumni who would like to connect with new or future students about studying at the University of Virginia.

HoosNetwork is also one of the university’s ways of connecting and keeping in touch with its alumni. Alumni who are taking research studies or post-graduate programs also have access to the UVA online research resources for free.

Bucknell University

bucknell-university

image source: bucknell.dm.org

Location:

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Famous Alumni:

Writers Philip Roth, Peter Balakian; actors Ralph Waite, Edward Herman; politicians Norman J. Levy, Matt Gabler, William Braucher Wood; athletes Jim Albus, Earl Beecham, Matt Daley, Bob Keegan, Brett Wilkinson, Walt Szot

About Bucknell University Alumni Network:

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college. It’s a non-Ivy League school that is noted for its high quality education, often compared to the Ivy League. Furthermore, Bucknell University is included in the “Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence”, a college guide that came out in 2000.

Bucknell alumni can log into Bucknell Career Connect with their LinkedIn profile to see job ads and connect with older graduates.

Also, the university offers “Life After Bucknell”, a series of programs for senior students who will be looking for a job or pursuing a graduate degree.

The university also offers network services like Bucknell Professional Network, Bucknell International, and Share a Lead for alumni everywhere to share advice, job opportunities, knowledge, and experiences. Their alumni association is very active on LinkedIn.

Southern Methodist University

southern-methodist-univeristy

image source: smu.edu

Location:

Dallas, Texas

Famous Alumni:

Politicians John Tower, Teel Bivins, Rafael Anchia, Laura Bush; entrepreneurs C. David Cush, Art Greenhaw, William J. O’Neil, Robert Rowling, John Tyson; scientists Donald D. Clayton, James Cronin, Mary E. Weber, Andres Ruzo

About Southern Methodist University Alumni Network:

The Southern Methodist University is a private college that was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It has two satellite campuses in Plano, Texas and Taos, New Mexico.

To help their students after graduation, SMU offers a career fair, where the college invites companies and partners like AT&T, Capital One, American Airlines, Envoy Air, Inc., Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Intel Corporation, Peace Corp, and Pepsi Co., among others.

The college website offers tools to help students write their resumes and cover letters, how to pass an interview, and salary to expect.

The SMU alumni association also has MustangTRAK, which is a site for the university’s graduates. There, they can view jobs, internships, volunteer programs, and organization profiles.

Gettysburg College

gettysburg-college

image source: mapio.net

Location:

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Famous Alumni:

Politicians James Glenn Beall, George M. Leader, John S. Rice; writers Jerry Spinelli (“Maniac Magee” among others), Stephanie Sellars, Karen Sosnoski; cinematographer Owen Roizman (“The Exorcist” among others); military personnel Flora D. Darpino, Keller E. Rockey, Charles A. Willoughby

About Gettysburg College Alumni Network:

Gettysburg College is a private institution, and was built just opposite the Gettysburg battlefield.

Princeton Review 2015 ranked the college No. 11 in the Best Schools for Internships. And because of its environs next to the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park, the campus is constantly ranked among the most beautiful campuses in the country.

The college’s alumni association regularly holds regional events to serve as a venue for alumni and current students to interact and network. The events range from Happy Hours to artistic performances.

Graduates can volunteer to be a Penn Hall partner, which helps in raising funds for financial aid and other opportunities. Alumni are also encouraged to join job-shadow programs, host site visits for seniors, or supervise an internship.

Ohio State University-Columbus

ohio-state-university-alumni-network

image source: osu.edu

Location:

Columbus, Ohio

Famous Alumni:

Artist Roy Lichtenstein; internet mogul Larry Sanger (co-creator of Wikipedia); athletes Jack Nicklaus, Jesse Owens

About Ohio State University-Columbus Alumni Network:

There are currently more than 475,000 graduates from Ohio State University.

The university started out as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, but has since expanded to include other academic programs.

There are 1,000 student clubs and organizations operating in the campus. Its interior designing graduate program was acknowledged as No. 2 in the nation, according to the 2016 US News and World Report.

The university’s alumni association is proactive in connecting alumni and recent graduates. There are career management and services programs, email forwarding, Alumni Houses that can be rented for large events, Buckeye Banking cards, and a Nationwide insurance.

The Buckeye Careers Network is also helpful for finding job opportunities. There are other more specific career networks at the university: ECS Career Engine, FutureLink, HireABuckeye, and FisherConnect.

Rob Clark
 

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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