When it comes to your education, most Americans agree that a college degree is important. In fact, a Gallup poll found that 94 percent of Americans still believe a postsecondary degree or credential is “somewhat important”; 70 percent say it’s “very important”.
More than anything, a college degree is a sign of accomplishment; that you’ve put in the time and effort to achieve a goal. And it’s that kind of hard work and dedication that attracts employers.
The thing is, just going to college doesn’t guarantee success.
For instance, the vast majority of college students – 67 percent – don’t even graduate within four years, leading to wasted time and larger school-loan debt. Even worse, recent Gallup research shows that 25 percent of all U.S. college graduates fail to thrive in their careers and lives.
The Gallup-Purdue Index polled 30,000 U.S. college graduates, measuring their level of engagement in their work and whether they were thriving in various aspects of their post-graduate life—things like purpose, financial stability, physical wellness, and community involvement. This holistic view gave them a better picture of the graduates’ success, rather than simply focusing on income.
What Gallup found is that there are six distinct elements students must be exposed to during their college experience — the “Big Six” — if they want to increase their chances for long-term success and fulfillment in their life and career:
- A professor who gets them excited about learning
- Professors who care about them personally
- A mentor who encourages them to pursue their goals and dreams
- Time spent working on a long-term project
- Having a job or internship, where they can apply what they are learning
- Being extremely involved in extra-curricular activities
According to the Gallup survey, graduates who experienced these “Big Six” during their time in college end up performing substantially better when it comes to measuring long-term success. Furthermore, they were more likely to finish their degree in four years or fewer. The outcomes of those who did not, however — 25 percent of all graduates— are drastically worse.
A college degree is obviously important; there’s no denying that. But it’s no guarantee that you’ll find success and fulfillment in your post-collegiate life. Pay attention to the “Big Six” and do your best to experience all of them during your time in college, and you’ll be more likely to find fulfillment once you have your diploma in hand. ~
Americans Say College Degree Leads to a Better Life (gallup.com)