Spring break college tours: Take this important tool with you

March 11, 2015  

Engagement checklist can help students, parents with college search

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - As spring break approaches, instead of looking for the perfect beach, many parents and teens begin seeking out the perfect college.

At Purdue University, for example, more than 4,000 high school students are expected to attend admissions visit programs in March and April. When family members and other guests are added to the mix, more than 9,000 visitors flock to campus over that two-month period.

To aid in the search, the Gallup-Purdue partnership is offering a handy checklist of questions to help families assess their options. While prospective students are checking out classrooms, housing and recreational spaces on their campus tours, they also should find out about important factors such as student-faculty engagement, high-impact experiences and affordability.

"College visits should be a fun and exciting venture for students and families," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. "We have learned what features of a college education are most closely connected with success in later life, and the checklist helps students and parents look for them."

The checklist, designed to be a supplement to more traditional college checklists, is available for download at http://www.purdue.edu/checklist/college-planning-checklist.pdf and is based on findings from the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 30,000 college graduates.

The study found that college graduates who have achieved great jobs and great lives were more likely to be personally engaged with a faculty member, have participated in an internship, been involved in extracurricular activities and have graduated with manageable student debt. These findings held true regardless of the type of public or private non-profit, four-year institution, no matter whether highly or much less selective. It was the student experience and level of engagement that made the difference – not the rankings. 

The checklist encourages students and their parents to ask questions such as:

* What kind of mentorship opportunities does the college/university offer?

* What percentage of students are involved in internship/co-op programs?

* What is the average debt of your students who borrow?

* What is the average starting salary of graduates in the major in which I’m interested?

* In addition, the checklist provides additional information and data designed to be helpful to those in their college search.

The Gallup-Purdue index was made possible through a grant from the Lumina Foundation to Purdue.

About Gallup-Purdue Index:

The Gallup-Purdue Index provides a definitive measure of how college graduates are doing on five key dimensions of well-being: purpose, social, physical, financial and community. It also measures their workplace engagement including things such as whether they like what they do, do what they're best at and have someone who cares about their development. 

Related news releases:

Gallup-Purdue index releases inaugural findings of national study: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/gallup-purdue-index-releases-inaugural-findings-of-national-landmark-study.html 

Gallup and Purdue University partner to measure college outcomes: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q4/gallup-and-purdue-university-partner-to-measure-college-outcomes-with-landmark-study.html 

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