3 Ways to Get the Most From Your College Experience
Where to go to college is a huge decision for high school students, but a recent Gallup poll, conducted with Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation, shows that
you go to college is more important than
you go to college.
According to the Gallup-Purdue Index, which polled 30,000 college graduates nationwide, there’s no difference in workplace engagement or a college graduate’s well-being if they attended a public or private not-for-profit institution, a highly selective institution or a top 100-ranked school in U.S. News & World Report. A student’s workplace engagement and well-being is better determined by what the student did while he or she was in college.
So what can you do to get the most out of college and have better opportunities in your career and in life?
1. Engage with faculty.
Get to know your professors. Find a professor who can serve as your mentor, challenge you and support you. In the Gallup-Purdue Index, graduates who had at least one professor who made them excited about learning, cared about them as a person and was a mentor, had more than double the odds of being engaged at work and thriving in terms of their well-being.
2. Participate in an internship.
The Gallup-Purdue Index found that students who participated in an internship-type program were also more likely to be engaged at work and have a high well-being. You can start looking for internships or co-ops as early as your freshman year. Visit your college’s career center as early as possible to learn about job and internship finding resources as well as to get help writing your resume and cover letters and preparing for interviews.
3. Keep your debt as low as possible.
According to the Gallup-Purdue Index, a relationship exists between the level of student debt and a graduate’s well-being and entrepreneurial experience. Three times fewer graduates who took out between $20,000 and $40,000 in undergraduate student loan debt are thriving
in their well-being compared with those with no school loan debt. Twenty-six percent of graduates with no debt have started their own business, compared with 16 percent for those with $40,000 or more.
To keep your debt low, find as many college scholarships and grants as you can, since those funds are “free money” that you don’t have to pay back once you complete your college degree. Also, take advantage of any federal work-study money that you are awarded.