National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 191–220


Copyright © 2022 National Collegiate Honors Council


This study explores the extent to which skills acquired through liberal arts curricula facilitate immediate post-graduate employment of honors college alumni. Using qualitative methods and semi-structured interviews (n = 16), authors examine the honors college experience and the attainment of skills through the lens of graduates (2017–2020) at a large research institution. Results indicate that while honors alumni identify certain skills that helped them realize initial employment, they were often unable to translate and apply these skills in professional workplaces, particularly nonacademic ones. Data further suggest that liberal arts skills (communication, research competence, critical reasoning, intercultural competence, interdisciplinary inquiry, disciplinary methods, and intellectual engagement) can be cultivated within honors colleges at large universities and are not particular to traditional liberal arts colleges. By focusing on earliest career experience rather than cumulative, this study is an essential contribution to outcomes-related discourse in the field of honors education.