Purdue offers checklist to help families choose colleges based on right fit

June 30, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — School is out for summer, which can only mean one thing: high school students visiting college campuses. Purdue University is offering the “Selecting A College: Engagement Matters Checklist,” a helpful list that can assist prospective college students and their families as they think through questions about classes, housing, recreational opportunities and more.

The checklist, available at www.purdue.edu/checklist/, is based on the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 30,000 college graduates. The study found that college graduates successful in their jobs and with happy lifestyles were more likely to have been 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 results are clear: It doesn’t matter where you go to college nearly as much as how you go to college,” Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said. “As families are visiting colleges this summer, we encourage them to take these questions along, expect answers, and make an informed choice that can lead to a great job and a great life for their students.”

The checklist includes questions to help determine how well universities engage with students, and help students select an institution where they will feel comfortable taking active roles in their education. Designed to be a supplement to more traditional college checklists, the Purdue checklist covers categories on faculty mentorship; faculty-student engagement; affordability; and available high-impact experiences outside the classroom such as internships, study abroad, extracurricular activities and volunteerism opportunities.

Families can find more about the Gallup-Purdue Index and the “Selecting A College: Engagement Matters Checklist” online at www.purdue.edu/newsroom/gallup/.

About Gallup-Purdue Index:

The Gallup-Purdue Index will be released annually over five years to create a national benchmark. Through its partnership with Gallup, Purdue will conduct a survey of its alumni that will allow for comparisons to the national benchmark and for in-depth research specific to Purdue. Other leading institutions of higher education have made the same commitment.

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 will also measure 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. In addition to the validated constructs Gallup has used to determine workplace engagement and well-being, Gallup will measure items that test the "customer" engagement of alumni, including their emotional attachment to their educational experience. The study will also include many crucial demographic items such as race, gender, household income, profession, student loan debt, whether respondents have started or plan to start a business, and whether they were first-generation college students, among other items. 

Writer: Charlie Henry, cghenry@purdue.edu

Source: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

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