From the Dean
Every once in a while, I use this space to talk about how proud I am of Purdue. Well, here I go again.
To begin, let me tell you something the president of our nationally ranked university is saying, "It doesn't matter where you go to college." I know. Unheard of. But it's true, and we're among those letting students, families and school counselors know.
Purdue is a sponsor of intriguing new research into the value of higher education – the Gallup Purdue Index (GPI). And one of the things you'll find if you look into the research is that what students do in college is much more important than where they go to college. The fact that Purdue is supporting such an altruistic effort to help students get the most out of their investment in a college education is the reason for my pride.
The purpose of GPI is to go beyond easy-to-measure outcomes – retention and graduation rates, job and grad school placement rates, starting salaries – and dig deeper. What defines lifelong success and how does college influence that success? Purdue teamed with Gallup and the Lumina Foundation to find out.
Through a survey of more than 30,000 college graduates GPI establishes connections between specific college experiences and long-term success, broadly defined as, "Great Jobs and Great Lives."
More specifically, success is defined as the following:
Workplace engagement – intellectually and emotionally connected at work; doing what they like and what they're good at in an organization in which someone cares about their development
Well-being – how people think about and experience their lives with a focus on five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical
Alumni attachment – the strength of a graduate's bond to their alma mater
And six college experiences are strongly related to successful lives and careers:
Support from a professor who cares
Having a professor who got them excited about learning
A mentor who encouraged their dreams
A meaningful internship or job where they can apply classroom knowledge
Experience on a project that took a semester or more to complete
Active involvement in extracurricular activities
What stood out in the research is that the results were similar for alumni of public and private institutions, selective admission or not. For-profit institutions were the one exception. In addition, results were similar regardless of ethnicity or the institution's U.S. News & World Report ranking.
The Gallup Purdue Index offers something for all of us, higher ed educators and administrators, secondary school educators and staff, future and current college students and their families.
Higher education institutions must use this information to ensure students have ample access to the experiences that will allow them be prepared for "Great Jobs and Great Lives."
Secondary schools can use the information to temper the college "arms race" and help students and their families recognize that education is something in which you engage, not a commodity you buy – and that a "name brand" institution isn't the most important factor in their search for the best college fit.
Students should use this information to plan for mindful pursuit of high-impact college activities and relationships that will facilitate their preparation for careers and meaningful lives.
More information about the GPI is available on the Purdue website, including these free student resources:
Selecting a College - Engagement Matters (PDF: 196KB) - A guide for students to use during their college search
Creating a Successful College Experience (PDF: 236KB) - A guide to help college students get the most out of their education
If you're able to attend the NACAC conference this fall, we hope to engage the school counseling and higher education community in a conversation about this new research during a presentation at the conference. We hope to see you there.
Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
and Dean of Admissions
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Taylor ZikeRead More