Northwestern actuary students exceed national test rates

Four Northwestern College actuary students took a total of seven actuarial exams in 2011, achieving a pass rate of 100 percent. The national pass rate for actuarial exams rate is below 50 percent.

Aspiring actuaries must take a series of exams, sponsored by professional organizations such as the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries, before they can practice in the field: a probability exam, financial mathematics exam, models for financial economics exam, life contingencies exam, and construction and evaluation of actuarial models exam.

Three seniors (Kristen Humphrey, Lincoln, Neb.; Abby Korthals, Bondurant, Iowa; and Jacob Vander Ploeg, Des Moines) and a junior (Nathan Nieuwendorp, Orange City) took and passed the probability exam last year. The 2011 national pass rate for the probability exam was 42 percent.

Humphrey, Korthals and Nieuwendorp also passed the financial mathematics exam; the 2011 national pass rate was 49 percent. Vander Ploeg passed the financial mathematics exam in 2010.

Northwestern is one of just 84 colleges or universities nationwide with an “advanced undergraduate” actuarial science classification from the Society of Actuaries.

The career placement rate of Northwestern’s actuarial science graduates is consistently near 100 percent. Actuarial alumni are working in firms across the U.S., including at Modern Woodmen of America in Omaha, Principal Financial Services in Des Moines and The Segal Company in Chicago.