Gauging Graduates’ Well-Being

Career College Central summary:

  • A new survey of 30,000 college graduates gives higher education leaders a chance to make their case that college isn’t all about jobs and income. The evidence from the largest survey of its kind is, however, mixed about whether colleges are doing enough to help students’ well-being in life, according a new measurement designed by Gallup and Purdue University.  
  • Researchers found that certain sorts of formative experiences in college help prepare graduates for not only "great jobs" but "great lives," but that too few graduates recall having had those experiences. The survey comes as Gallup, which has long studied “well-being,” is looking to help individual colleges examine the devotion and success of their alumni.
  • A major finding suggests that the type of institution students attend does not matter – little more, if any, additional well-being can be found among graduates of Ivy League colleges than alumni of other types of colleges, according to the results. The firm found liberal arts majors were slightly more satisfied with their jobs than were business and science majors, though the latter were more likely to be employed full-time. The survey’s results also suggest student loan debt can make graduates risk-averse.
  • The national study, which Gallup expects to repeat each year, found that if working graduates remember having had a professor who cared about them, made them excited to learn and encouraged them to follow their dreams — which Gallup called being "emotionally supported" while in college — the graduates’ odds of being engaged at work more than doubled. But only 14 percent of graduates recalled having a professor who did all of those things.

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