Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Post-graduate Well-being, Engagement, More Impacted by College Experiences than by College Type

"College is what you make of it" they say. Recent data from Gallup suggests that the qualities of universities where students enroll, such as whether they are public or private, large or small, very selective or less selective, have less impact on students' lives after graduation than is often thought. In fact, what seem to have the greatest impact on students' post-graduate levels of well-being and engagement in their work are six elements of the college experience in particular.

The quality of interaction between faculty and students was important for life after college, with the following experiences being the most highly related to positive long-term outcomes: graduates feeling supported by professors who cared about them, having professors that made them excited for learning course material, and having professors who encouraged their goals and dreams. Other impactful experiences seem to center more on translating knowledge learned in the classroom to practical settings, such as working on a long-term (at least one semester) project, having an internship or job that allowed them to apply what they had learned, and being actively involved in extra-curricular activities. Unfortunately, only 3% of graduates polled claimed to strongly agree that they had had all six of the most impactful experiences during their time at college.

Given this data, it seems that many collegiate measurements traditionally associated with well-being and work engagement of graduates, like rejection rates or student/faculty ratios, may be missing what can make college effective in preparing students for happy and productive lives post-graduation. Beneficial long-term outcomes stem from richness and depth in areas of the college experience like support and connection with faculty and hands-on opportunities that bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical application.

No comments:

Post a Comment