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May 26, 2014 06:17 AM EDT

Types of Experience in College Matter More than Institution: Survey

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A recent Gallup-Purdue University study has found that the types of experience in college matter more than the institution itself for a graduate's success at workplace.

The researchers said that type of college - Ivy League, public or private - did not significantly contribute to a student's future accomplishments. Instead, the experiences and emotional support they received at college played a vital role in their professional life.

A group of 30,000 college graduates of various age groups, in all 50 states, were surveyed regarding their level of engagement and contentment at work. It was found that only three percent of them were associated with significant experiences in college that resulted in them landing up with great jobs and experiencing satisfaction at workplace.

This relatively small group of graduates were from a variety of colleges and didn't attend any of the shiny, elite colleges that Americans long believed to be the ideal path to success. They established good relationships with their professors and made important investments in academic projects and extra-curricular activities when compared to their peers.

Researchers said that inspiring professors, no matter where they taught, were found to generate better and happier workers. For example graduates who were engaged and inspired by their professors were twice more likely to be content in their workplace.

"It matters very little where you go; it's how you do it" that counts, said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education. "Having a teacher who believes in a student makes a lifetime of difference," Wall Street Journal reports.

The poll also found that 39 percent of college graduates reported being engaged at work -meaning that they enjoy working on a daily basis and are emotionally and intellectually connected to their jobs. While only 11 percent felt that they were growing in five different aspects of their lives including financial stability, a strong social network and a sense of purpose.

University of Pennsylvania Professor Martin Seligman said that the Gallup Survey did not determine whether college experiences were directly proportional to success or was it just a coincidental statistics.

"One hopeful possibility is that if college were changed to produce more emotional support, this would result in much more engagement later in life," Seligman said. "Another, less interesting possibility" is that people engaged at work who said they were emotionally supported in college are simply upbeat to begin with, and that rosy outlook colors their memories.

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