NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Nearly 95% of Stephen F. Austin State University’s May 2023 graduating class reported positive career outcomes within six months of graduation, according to a class-specific survey conducted by the university’s Center for Career and Professional Development, marking a 5% increase from last year’s rate.

The First Destination Survey is used to capture information from SFA’s new graduates within their first six months after graduation. Specifically, it looks at information related to post-graduation next steps, including whether they are working, continuing education, joining the military or participating in service or volunteer programs, such as the Peace Corps.

The survey is meant to provide clear, concise and consistent data on the outcomes associated with SFA students as well as the national outcomes associated with a college education, according to an article on the Handshake website, the platform CCPD uses to connect students with industry professionals. For this reason, the questions in the survey are compliant with the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The FDS is one way SFA tracks the success of students and those who help prepare them for the job market, said CCPD director Brent McLemore, “allowing us to tell their stories more completely, celebrate accordingly and improve more effectively.”

Between self-reported student data and the CCPD’s post-graduation knowledge rate, overall survey results account for 48% of the May 2023 SFA graduating class, which is slightly higher than both national (47%) and regional (40%) knowledge rates when comparing to class of 2022 data. National class of 2023 data will not be released until this fall. As with all class career outcomes, the reported data will include graduating students from each semester within an academic year.

Still, McLemore and other SFA administrators were excited to see that SFA’s reported career outcome rate within six months of graduation for May 2023 graduates was 6% higher than the 2022 national average and 10% higher than the 2022 southwest U.S. average. The southwest region includes Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“It is always encouraging to see positive career outcomes at above average rates,” McLemore said. “These trends are reflective of the good work our faculty members put in each day to educate our students. Along with the many campus advisors, mentors and staff, their work results in students who are competitive in the job market, bringing significant value to it as potential employees.”

With several student resources focused on microcredentialing and experiential learning now being made possible through SFA’s affiliation with The University of Texas System, McLemore said he expects these positive trends to continue.

“We are very excited to support this upward trajectory in CCPD,” he said.

To learn more about the CCPD, including its career exploration and employer connection services, visit