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 2017 NSSE results, nationally, 76% of students at liberal arts colleges participated in senior capstone experience (Gettysburg: 100%).

                Gettysburg               Liberal Arts Colleges
2017 100% 76%
2014 100% 74%



80% of 2017 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
2017 80%
2016 78%
2015 80%
2014 70%
2013 67%


Study Abroad

Over half of the Class of 2017 graduates (who entered in Fall 2013) 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
2013 2017 54%
2012 2016 58%
2011 2015 58%
2010 2014 54%
2009 2013 56%
2008 2012 57%
2007 2011 53%


Undergraduate Research

Nearly 60% of 2017 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
2017 57%
2016 55%
2015 56%
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. In Fall 2017, FYS participation reached a historical high.

Entering Cohort                First Year Seminar Participation               BURG Participation
2017 95% 47%
2016 88% 55%
2015 83% 38%
2014 84% 43%
2013 83% 45%
2012 85% 41%


Leadership Experience

During their undergraduate career at the College, close to two thirds of the 2017 graduating class served in a leadership role/roles: Residence Life staff (e. g., RA, ARLC/RC, CA, OL), campus organization/club officer (e. g., in Student Senate, Greek organizations, clubs/organized groups), athletic team captain, program coordinator (e. g., in CPS, GRAB), tour guide, leadership mentor, or similar leadership positions, substantially enhancing their leadership skills.

Graduating Class    % Serving in a Leadership Role(s)      % Reporting Leadership Skills Substantially* Enhanced
2017 64% 91%
2016 64% 92%
2015 69% 82%
2014 69% 83%
2013          67% 88%
2012  65% 83%
2011 58% 86%
2010 66% 87%

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



Community Service

Almost nine out of ten 2017 graduates participated in community service during their undergraduate years at Gettysburg, strengthening their civic engagement.

Graduating Class            Community Service Participation Rate
2017 86%
2016 89%
2015 87%
2014 83%
2013 80% 


Service Learning

In 2014, 64% of seniors reported having taken at least one service-learning course (i.e., courses including a community-based project) during their undergraduate career at Gettysburg, integrating classroom learning with civil and community engagement.

              Service Learning Participation Rate        
2017 68%
2014 64%


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.


Notes: 1) All data (except Study Abroad, First Year Seminar/BURG, and Service Learning) 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. 4) Data source for Service Learning: student self-reports in National Survey of Student Engagement. 5) High-Impact Educational Practices is a term popularized by NSSE founding director George Kuh: