What Matters In College

Issue #127, March 2021


linda katzSpring is on the way! If you live in the Northeast, we have a few days in the 60s coming up this week.
For juniors and seniors planning to attend college, today I focus on a research study that outlines which factors are most important in getting the maximum value from a college education.

Read on to learn more about that process.


What Matters In College

Recently, I attended a webinar led by Brandon Busteed, former Director of Education and Workforce Development at Gallup, who presented a well-known study, along with its most recent updates. I have known of this study for years; its findings are as important as ever as your student looks for a college that will be both a great learning and personal growth experience.
This research – the Gallup-Purdue Index from 2015, which consisted of 30,000 college graduates reflecting on their undergraduate experience – recommends picking a college where you can thrive, not just attend class and get good grades.

These are the six elements that made the most difference in post-graduation success.

  1. A professor who made the student excited to learn.
  2. A professor who cared about the student as an individual (students specifically mentioned that their professors knew their names).
  3. A mentor who pushed students to reach their goals and dreams (ranked as most important). Professors were the largest group cited, but other staff, coaches, older students, or family members were also mentioned. (Keep in mind that mentoring relationships with professors can be difficult to come by if class sizes are very large or undergraduate research is emphasized more than teaching.)
  4. Working on a long-term project that took a semester or longer to complete.
  5. Completing a job or internship related to classroom lessons.
  6. Being engaged in extracurricular activities and groups and extremely involved in at least one activity.

As you can see, many of the factors are about much more than simply attending class. (The old saying, “The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it” applies here!)

As you narrow your search over the next several months, make sure to ask probing questions of admissions staff, current students, and career services, and set up virtual meetings with professors in areas of interest. Doing so will help with your student’s post-graduation success!

About Us

Right Fit College Coaching is a Hopkinton, Massachusetts educational consulting firm that helps high school students prepare for and find the right fit for college. I specialize in helping students with learning differences.
Please feel free to forward these notes to others with high school students. To be added to the list for the future, sign up at my web site: www.RightFitCollegeCoaching.com.

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