by Jaime S. Fall
Vice President, Workforce and Talent Sustainability
HR Policy Foundation
A powerful new Gallup-Purdue poll sheds some light on the college activities that are more likely to lead to workers being engaged in the workplace following graduation. The findings provide invaluable information that every college and every prospective college student should pay close attention to.
Employed college graduates who had a professor who cared about them as a person, one who made them excited about learning, and had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their dreams, more than doubled that graduate’s odds of being engaged at work. The study also found that the type of schools graduates attended -- public or private, small or large, very selective or less selective -- hardly matters at all to their workplace engagement and current well-being.
Additionally, if graduates had an internship or job in college where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom, were actively involved in extracurricular activities and organizations, and worked on projects that took a semester or more to complete, their odds of being engaged at work doubled as well.
Unfortunately, only 14 percent of graduates strongly agreed they were supported by professors who cared, who made them excited about learning, and who encouraged their dreams. Further, just 6 percent of graduates strongly agree they had an internship or job that allowed them to apply what they were learning, worked on a long-term project, and were actively involved in extra-curricular activities. Only 3 percent of those who strongly agree to having had all six of these experiences during their time in college.