How can you make sure that your education is “worth it”? According to the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 30,000 college graduates in the U.S., there are six experiences that are linked with long-term career and life success.
Graduates who strongly agree that they had the following six elements of emotional support and experiential learning in college performed better on measures of long-term success compared with graduates who missed the mark on these experiences:
- A professor who made them excited about learning
- Professors who cared about them as a person
- A mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams
- Worked on a long-term project
- Had a job or internship where they applied what they were learning
- Were extremely involved in extra-curricular activities
Having these six experiences can have a significant impact on preparing a student for life, as suggested by the following data:
These six experiences can be used to create a roadmap for where students should focus their energy during their studies. By purposefully preparing for these experiences, a student can greatly improve their education experience. For example, let’s take a look at the importance of connecting with professors (number 1 and 2). We know that professors cannot be solely responsible for establishing relationships with students. Therefore, students should learn to make use of office hours, seek advice from professors and graduate students, connect with academic advisors, and pursue professors who may be able to mentor them in particular areas.
The study also reported that, unfortunately, 25% of students missed out on all six experiences, thus signaling a potential gap in the experience of a large proportion of students. Addressing this gap could generate improvements that would impact both the studies and the careers of students.
To ensure that a student’s experience is “worth it”, students, parents and advisors would benefit from creating the right experiences before, during and after their studies.