Going to a Fancy College Doesn't Make You Happier
Survey finds life satisfaction isn't linked to prestigious institutions
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2014 3:33 PM CDT
In this 2009 file photo, a woman enters the Widener Library at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, file)

(Newser) – Didn't get into Harvard? Don't worry, you probably wouldn't be any happier if you had. A new Gallup poll finds that, for the most part, there's no significant difference in levels of life satisfaction between graduates of garden-variety colleges and graduates of prestigious colleges. In fact, there was little difference no matter what type of college subjects attended—public or private, big or small—with one exception, the Los Angeles Times reports. That exception: Graduates of private for-profit institutions were much less satisfied with life, and were also less likely to be well-engaged at work.

Why? The lead researcher says those students may have already had a lower socioeconomic status than others, or those schools may not be doing as much to help graduates advance. Other findings:

  • People who owed more than $20,000 in student debt reported more problems than those who did not.
  • Graduates who had a mentor at college, or at least one professor that made them excited about learning, were much more likely to be "thriving" in their post-grad life, NPR reports.
  • Graduates who had paid internships or who were heavily involved in extracurricular activities were twice as likely to be engaged in their current careers.

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
May 6, 2014 7:27 PM CDT
Private college is a class thing. Avoid for profit college if you can. .
May 6, 2014 5:40 PM CDT
Going to college makes you dumber, just look at all the idiot graduates who think they are entitled. My roll of toliet paper cost more than their degree paper.
May 6, 2014 4:28 PM CDT
I went to a school like that. There was something unnatural, in retrospect, about the intensity of it: Not just the work itself, but the entire process/environment of "getting in;" the course work there and the expectations once you graduate. I just don't think the whole Tiger Mom thing is natural... having a 17 year old do 32 extracirriculars while maintaining a 4.5 GPA. The kid is gonna crack up like a 747 going 1200 MPH.