Well Being and The College Degree

“Prestigious Colleges Won’t Make You Happier in Life Or Work” according to Gallup Poll.  Click on the excerpts below to go to the full article:

There’s plenty of anxiety in the U.S. over getting into a top college. But a suggests that, later in life, it doesn’t matter nearly as much as we think. In fact, when you ask college graduates whether they’re “engaged” with their work or “thriving” in all aspects of their lives, their responses don’t vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.

The graduate survey released Tuesday suggests the factors that should be guiding college decisions are not selectivity or prestige, but cost of attendance, great teaching and deep learning, in that order.

That’s because graduates who said they had a “mentor who encouraged my hopes and dreams,” “professors who cared about me” and at least one prof who “made me excited about learning” are three times more likely to be thriving and twice as likely to be engaged at work. In a similar vein, grads who did long-term projects and internships and were heavily into extracurriculars are twice as likely to be engaged in their careers today.

College debt also has a big impact, on the negative side. Only 2 percent of those with $20,000 to $40,000 in undergraduate loans reported they were “thriving.” That’s pretty troubling, since for the 7 in 10 students who borrow. ­

In the meantime, the take-home message for students is clear, says Brandon Busteed, who leads Gallup’s education work: “If you can go to Podunk U debt free vs. Harvard for $100,000, go to Podunk. And concentrate on what you do when you get there.”

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