Monday, January 25, 2016

Gallup on What Makes a College Degree “Worth It”

A majority of people in the United States believes that it is important to get a college education. For one thing, adults with only a high school diploma earn, on average, considerably less than adults who graduated from college. Perhaps more importantly, a more advanced degree also allows graduates more choices about the jobs they take and the lives they lead. The perception that college is critical prompts ever-rising numbers of young people to drive themselves into heavy debt to attain the goal of attending college. But is it really worth it?

The results of a recent study by Gallup provide some interesting answers. The Gallup-Purdue Index collected information about 30,000 college graduates in the United States, going beyond just salary to measure the subjects’ engagement in their work, the extent to which they thrived socially and financially, their sense of purpose, and even their physical well-being. The results indicated six elements of emotional support and experiential learning in college that are correlated with long-term career and life success.

These experiences impact graduates’ lives so heavily that Gallup calls them the “Big Six.” Adults who report experiencing all of the following six elements in college perform better on every measure of long-term success than graduates who missed out on these experiences. In college, successful adults generally report:

1. Encountering a professor who made them excited about learning

2. Working with professors who cared about them as people

3. Having a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams

4. Working on a long-term project

5. Placement in a job or internship where they applied what they were learning

6. Being extremely involved in extra-curricular activities

The difference between the outcomes of graduates who experienced all six elements versus those who experienced none of them is nothing short of astonishing. For example, results indicate that 82% of Big Six graduates felt prepared for life after college. In contrast, only 5% of those who had none of these experiences felt prepared. Sixty-five percent of employees whose college experience contained all six elements reported being engaged at work while only 25% of those who experienced none of the elements did. Keep in mind that the adults polled are all college graduates.

In light of these results, Gallup’s Brad Busteed, executive director of Education and Workforce Development, advocates adding graduation requirements that would prompt colleges to provide students with experiential learning and supportive relationships in addition to traditional coursework.

College hopefuls, and their parents, should read the original article and view the results in detail; careful selection of a school that can provide this winning formula could make all the difference.

Photo credit: State Farm via flickr cc

No comments:

Post a Comment