New polling data from Gallup has found that elite universities don’t turn out happier or more productive graduates. While highly selective colleges get by on reputation, their students don’t always benefit. “The strongest correlation for well-being emerged from a series of questions delving into whether graduates felt ’emotionally supported’ at school by a professor or mentor. Those who did were three times as likely to report they thrived as adults. Graduates who reported having ‘experiential and deep learning’ were twice as likely to be engaged at work as those who didn’t.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
The new effort at measuring students’ wellbeing after graduation was spearheaded by former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who became president of Purdue University in January 2013. While visiting Washington D.C., Daniels approached Gallup about using their wellbeing survey at the collegiate level. A correlation between student debt levels and entrepreneurial success also emerged: “About 26% of graduates with no undergraduate debt started their own business, compared with just 20% of those carrying debt from $20,000 to $40,000.”