What are the Paths our Students take after Studying at Summerfield?
A survey of the class of 2015 is Quite Revealing
By Beth Weisburn, High School Math Teacher
A Summerfield education prepares student for life, to be healthy and fully engaged in meaningful activity at age 35, 50 and beyond. This looks different for each individual student and the paths they take are diverse. Most students engage in some type of advanced training or education. Many take a gap year for travel and volunteer work right after graduating. Some enter college or university immediately, with a career goal in mind. A significant percentage enter professions in science, technology and social services.
What do SWSF graduates do in the years just after high school? To get a sense of this, I took a “snapshot” of one class: the graduates from 2015. I sent out an email to the addresses used for senior project work, heard from some parents, and researched via social media and the internet. In a very short time, using these methods I was able to find some information for 22 of the 25 students.
Most (22) attended training programs, college or university, including:
American University, Washington DC, now Brooklyn Law School
Claremont McKenna College
Dörthe Krause Institut, Herdecke, Germany
Laguna College of Art and Design
Santa Rosa Junior College
Sonoma State University
Western Washington University
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Santa Cruz (1 year)
University of Puget Sound (3 students)
University of Redlands
University of St. Andrews
University of Victoria
Although not all students responded with their major, those who did included:
Sciences: Masters in Chemistry, Biology, minor in Math, Communication Sciences and Disorders (Audiology), Integrative Psychology, Kinesiology (Physical Therapy), Molecular Environmental Biology, Nursing (2 students), and Physics and Math
Humanities or Social Sciences: Economics and Philosophy, History, Political Science, Pre-law, law internships in the criminal justice system, Public relations/Advertising: Strategic Communications, Sociology with Legal Studies, Spanish minor, Interdisciplinary: Science, Tech and Society, and German Studies
Art/Performance: Game Art, Theatre
These students are just finishing up with school —as they are 4 years out of high school. Eleven students have graduated, five more are planning to graduate this year, one is taking a break from school to join the Coast Guard this winter, one attended school for one year and then began working, and I did not find graduation dates for four students.
Four students are immediately applying to graduate school—one to Law School, one for Physical Therapy, one for Audiology, and one for Chemistry. In addition, two are working in research labs—one in Physics designing a perovskite-based thermochromic solar window, and a second in Biology working in a non-profit medical scientific research center.
One student attended a circus training, and is one of three students now working in Sonoma County. Another student presently manages a creative team for video productions for an online tutoring company. Two students did not respond, and I could find no information about their work or schooling after Summerfield.
Notice that 9 students majored in the sciences, representing half of the total number of majors reported!
SWSF students are creative in the paths they take, in this time of rising college tuition costs. In recent years, several have attended the Santa Rosa Junior College for two years, and then transferred to universities such as Berkeley and UCLA to complete their four-year degrees. In some instances, these students have graduated debt free! Other students go directly to liberal arts colleges across the country where they receive substantial scholarship support or financial aid. Most students are accepted to one of their top choices of college or university. More importantly, four or five years later, many are still attending school or have graduated.
Life after Summerfield Waldorf School
Waldorf education provides a well-rounded foundation as our students move out and about into the world to attend diverse colleges and universities and to work in many different professions. The Survey of Waldorf Graduates, conducted by David Mitchell and Douglas Gerwin, indicates that Waldorf Education is achieving the following in its graduates:
Multiple Intelligences and Cross Disciplinary Learners
Global Consciousness and Sustainability
Basis for Moral Navigation
Creative Problem Solving
High Levels of Social Intelligence
High Levels of Emotional Intelligence
Thinkers Who Think Outside the Box
According to this recent study of Waldorf graduates:
94% attended college or university
47% chose humanities or arts as a major
42% chose sciences or math as a major
89% are highly satisfied in choice of occupation
91% are active in life-long education
92% placed a high value on critical thinking
90% highly values tolerance of other viewpoints
Where Are Waldorf Students Accepted and Where Do They Go?
“The simple answer is, ‘everywhere.’ They go to schools from Amherst to Yale, from the University of Maine to the University of California at San Diego. They go to local community colleges and to elite Ivy League universities. Some go to design schools, music, visual and performing art schools.”
– Excerpt from “Life After Waldorf High School” by Abraham Entin, published by AWSNA