What are the results of a Waldorf Education?

Waldorf parents often carry the question: What happens to Waldorf school graduates after they leave high school? Phase II of the Survey of Waldorf Graduates (2007) from the Research Institute for Waldorf Education gives us an insight into the typical qualities of Waldorf school graduates. The survey was based on a sample of around 525 participants spanning some sixty years of Waldorf graduates in North America, including VWS graduates.

“The graduates surveyed demonstrated that they are capable of achieving what they want in life and are happy in the process of pursuing their goals. The majority consider life-long learning as a significant part of their life journey. They are devoted to their families, both to their own parents and the families they are part of creating. In short, they know how to make a living, but more importantly, they know how to make a life.”

The three key findings of the research were:

  1. Waldorf graduates think for themselves and value the opportunity to translate their new ideas into practice. They both value and practice life-long learning and have a highly developed sense of aesthetics.
  2. Waldorf graduates value lasting human relationships—and they seek out opportunities to help other people.
  3. Waldorf graduates are guided by an inner moral compass that helps them navigate the trials and temptations of professional and private life. They carry high ethical principles into their chosen professions.

Many other interesting statistics were coming out of the study.

A summary of a Waldorf graduate profile:

  • Self-reliant and highly values self-confidence (94%)
  • Highly values verbal expression (93%) and critical thinking (92%)
  • Highly satisfied in choice of occupation (89%)
  • Highly values inter-personal friendships (96%)
  • Highly values tolerance of other viewpoints (90%)
  • When at work, cares most about ethical principles (82%) and values helping others

In the area of post-secondary education:

  • 94% of Waldorf graduates attended college or university
  • 88% graduated from college
  • 42% chose science as a major
  • 47% chose humanities as a major
  • 51% have studied beyond the undergraduate level
  • 91% are active in lifelong education

In a ranking of Waldorf graduates by College professors, Waldorf graduates were praised for their social awareness, initiative, communication, and truthfulness. The survey includes several pages of anecdotes from a selection of professors across the US and Canada.

Occupations most frequently undertaken by graduates are:

  • Performing Arts (Broadcasting, Dance, Film, Music, Theater) 11.2%
  • Administration, Management, and Development 9.8%
  • Fine and Studio Arts (incl. Architecture) 9.8%
  • Education 9.1 %
  • Sciences & Technology 8.4%
  • Health and Medicine 7.7%
  • Various professions or trades 7.7%

Over 55% of the respondents are in the same job for 5+ years, over 35% of the respondents are in the same job for 10+ years, and over 25% of the respondents are in the same job for 15+ years. A positive job atmosphere, ethical principles, and the chance to help others were most important to Waldorf graduates at work. Communication – vital for good interpersonal relationships–was ranked as the highest life skill by respondents, followed by truthfulness and the ability to problem-solve.

Social relations, education, and artistic practice were the gifts graduates most appreciated and were also listed as the greatest joys in life, indicating a high level of interest in humanity. Self-questioning and inner striving toward perfection were seen as the top challenges, along with family issues and the struggle to achieve balance in life.

The survey indicated that most Waldorf graduates want to send their children to a Waldorf school.

To read the full survey, visit www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org.