New national survey reveals correlations between college experience and career success

colleges-success-gallupIn the current national discussion on whether or not a college degree is worth the price paid, one of the most important considerations (at least in today’s economy) is whether or not the graduate has a “successful” career. But can institutions measure that success?

“When thinking about the ultimate outcome of a college degree, there is almost universal agreement about the value people seek and expect: to increase the probability of getting a good job and having a better life. Yet, there is not a single college or university in the U.S. that has rigorously researched and measured whether their graduates have ‘great jobs’ and ‘great lives,’ said the report.

The report, “Great Jobs, Great Lives: The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report,” focuses research efforts on outcomes that can provide insight into these common aspirations for colleges grads, no matter what type of institution they attend.

“For years, the value of a college degree has been determined not by the most important outcomes of a college education, but by the easiest outcomes to measure, namely job and graduate school placement rates and alumni salaries,” explains the report. “While these metrics have some merit, they do not provide a holistic view of college graduates’ lives. They do not reflect the missions of higher education institutions, and they do not reflect the myriad reasons why students go to college.”

During a 2014 month-long study, where nearly 30,000 U.S. adults who had completed at least a bachelor’s degree were polled, Gallup and Purdue found that when it comes to being engaged at work and experiencing high well-being after graduation, they type of institution they attended matters less than what they experienced there.

Yet, just three percent of all the graduates studied had the types of experiences in college that Gallup finds strongly relate to great jobs and great lives afterward.

[For more information on the criteria Gallup uses to measure great jobs and satisfaction, as well as how the survey was conducted, read the report.]

(Next page: 2 ways colleges can guarantee success)

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