Participation in High-Impact Learning Activities

Gettysburg students participate in many high-impact learning experiences such as study abroad, which are associated with a variety of desirable learning and personal development outcomes.

Senior Capstone Experience

Since the Fall 2004 entering cohort, all students have been required to complete a senior capstone project as part of the graduation requirements.  The Capstone Requirement is a course or faculty-sponsored experience in which students bring together what they have learned in their major curriculum and demonstrate mastery over the chosen area of concentration. Based on the 2014 NSSE results, the participation rate in senior capstone experience is only 74% among liberal arts colleges (Gettysburg: 100%).


Approximately 70% of 2014 graduates completed an internship during their undergraduate education at the College, enriching their academic learning and gaining valuable work experience. The participation rate has been increasing over the years.

Graduating  Class            Internship Participation Rate
2014 70%
2013 67%



Study Abroad

54% of the Class of 2014 graduates (who entered in Fall 2010) studied abroad for a semester or an academic year, enriching their academic learning and developing a sense of global citizenship.

Entering Cohort           Graduated in           % of Graduates Who Studied Abroad
2010 2014 54%
2009 2013 56%
2008 2012 57%
2007 2011 53%
2006 2010 49%
2005 2009 51%

Undergraduate Research

Approximately 57% of 2014 graduates worked with faculty on research during their undergraduate career at Gettysburg, enhancing their level of deep learning and intellectual development.

Graduating Class


Research Participation Rate

2014 57%
2013 55%

First-Year Seminar and BURG

A large number of first-year students participate in common intellectual experiences such as First-Year Seminar (FYS) and BURG (a type of FYS which is also a living-learning community). FYS are an array of specially designed courses offered only to first-year students. Students choose from dozens of intriguing seminars creatively designed to hone writing, speaking, critical thinking, and other learning skills. Each seminar is built around a provocative personal interest of the instructor.

Entering Cohort 

              First Year Seminar Participation               BURG Participation
2014 84% 43%
2013 83% 45%
2012 85% 41%

Leadership Experience

Close to 70% of 2014 graduates served in a leadership role/roles (e.g., residence life staff, campus organization officer, team captain, program coordinator, tour guide) during their undergraduate career at the College, substantially enhancing their leadership skills.

Graduating Class     

% Serving in a Leadership Role(s)


% Reporting Leadership Skills Substantially* Enhanced

2014 69% 83%
2013          67% 88%
2012  65% 83%
2011 58% 86%
2010 66% 87%
2009 63% 79%

*"Substantially" is the combined % of students reporting leadership skills "Moderately" or "Greatly" enhanced (Rating Scale: Not at all--A little--Moderately--Greatly).

Community Service

Approximately 83% of 2014 graduates participated in community service during their undergraduate years at Gettysburg, strengthening their civic engagement.

Graduating Class           

Community Service Participation Rate

2014 83%
2013 80%



Participation in Other High-Impact Learning Experiences

A large number of students also participate in other high-impact learning experiences such as service learning courses.


Note: 1) All data (except Study Abroad and First Year Seminar/BURG) are based on self-reports in the annual graduating senior survey. Approximately 95% of graduating seniors completed the survey every year. 2) Data source for Study Abroad: Office of the Registrar & Office of Institutional Analysis  3) Data source for First Year Seminar/BURG: Office of the Registrar