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It’s Not ‘Where’ You Go To College, But ‘How’ You Go To College


Gallup in partnership with Purdue University and Lumina Foundation, released findings from the first-ever Gallup-Purdue Index (2014), a survey of 30,000 US college graduates that examines the relationship between the college experience and whether college graduates have great jobs (are engaged at work) and great lives (based on five elements of well-being).

The survey found it wasn’t necessarily where you went to college, but “how you do it.” Those who have achieved great jobs and great lives were more likely to be personally engaged with a faculty member (graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning and encouraged them to pursue their dreams), have participated in an internship, been involved in extracurricular activities in college, and have graduated with minimal student debt.

Based on the findings, the organizations put together a college planning checklist for students to use as they consider which college or university to attend. The checklist includes questions for students to ask that focus on affordability, whether there are opportunities related to emotional support, opportunities for deep learning experiences and real-life applications of classroom learning available at the college or university. You can view this new resource in NACAC’s Knowledge Center.

Noteworthy findings from the survey:
Arrow 39 percent of college graduates are engaged at work.
Arrow There is no distinction between graduates of public versus private colleges on employee engagement, but there is substantial difference between graduates of for-profit institutions. The same pattern was found when looking at student’s well-being.
Arrow The higher the amount of school loans that graduates took out for their

Undergraduate education, the worse off their well-being (14 percent of graduates who did not take out loans are thriving in their well-being, compared with four percent of graduates with $20,000-$40,000 in loans).