February 18, 2016  

Checklist helps families ‘spring’ into action during college tours

Downloadable list can help students, parents find the best college fit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - As spring break approaches, many families and teens begin planning road trips to visit colleges.

In March and April at Purdue University, for example, more than 6,000 high school students are expected to attend admissions visitation programs, and when other family and guests are added, nearly 16,000 people visit Purdue over that two-month period.

All of these visits, at Purdue and across the country, seek the answer to one question: Is this college the right one?

To help answer that question, the Gallup-Purdue partnership offers a convenient checklist to help families assess their options. While prospective students make stops at classrooms, housing and recreational spaces on campus tours, they also should find out about important factors such as student-faculty engagement, high-impact experiences and affordability.

"College visits are an exciting time for students and families, but also a time of many questions and often confusion,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “This checklist is a good tool, based on the solid analytical research of our partners at Gallup, to determine which institution is the right fit."

The checklist, designed to be a supplement to more traditional college checklists, is available at http://www.purdue.edu/checklist/ and is based on findings from the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 60,000 college graduates. In addition, Purdue offers another resource online at http://www.admissions.purdue.edu/documents/SixPrinciplesOfSuccess.pdf that lists “six principles of success,” a college preparation checklist and key questions to ask on a college visit.

The Gallup-Purdue 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 full report is available at http://www.gallup.com/services/185924/gallup-purdue-index-2015-report.aspx.

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.

“These are the kinds of probing questions students and families should ask, and when they do, we are confident they will find these kinds of opportunities at Purdue,” said Pamela Horne, the university’s vice president for enrollment management.

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.

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Pamela Horne, 765-494-9116, pamhorne@purdue.edu 

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