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NEW Series: The Six College Experiences You Need for Future Success

As I mentioned in my last blog post, six types of college experiences have an outsized positive impact on future success in life:

  1. Taking a course with a professor who makes learning exciting

  2. Having a professor who cares about the student personally

  3. Having a mentor who encourages the student to pursue personal goals

  4. Working on a meaningful project across semesters

  5. Participating in an internship

  6. Being active in extracurricular activities

I am starting a new blog series describing how to approach each of these effectively. These experiences are based on research conducted by Gallup and Purdue University in their 2014 Great Jobs, Great Lives Report that studied more than 30,000 college students across the U.S.

When I consider these six experiences, a few thoughts jump out to me:

Professors and mentors play a key role.

Students are often intimidated by faculty and have no idea what a mentor is, why it's important, or how to get one. It's important they learn how to develop relationships with faculty/mentors.

Academic work should build on itself.

Students take individual classes each term but may not understand how to connect their learning to something meaningful for their future. Getting involved in research or undertaking a thesis or capstone project can bring together an academic education in an impactful way.

Students should experience their learning (outside the classroom).

Much of college success happens outside the classroom in what is known as experiential learning (think: students EXPERIENCE their learning in an active way). Common ways include internships and extracurricular activities, including leadership positions.

GREAT...but HOW do I do this?

In the next six posts, I will describe tangible action steps students can take to pursue these experiences. College is a comprehensive part of the student's journey, and all of these things work together, not just for success in college but, as Gallup-Purdue shows us, for success in life.


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