Graduates of Top 50 Liberal Arts Schools More Likely to 'Thrive' Than Other Graduates, According to Gallup-Purdue Survey

The Gallup-Purdue Index recently finished surveying 60,000 graduates on a range of issues from life satisfaction to engagement at work.  Their goal is “to conduct the largest representative study of college graduates in United States history.” 

The study points to higher levels of life satisfaction among graduates of the top 50 liberal arts schools (rankings of all schools for the study were determined by U.S. World News & Report). 

Naturally, there are many great colleges across the country.  No single type of school is inherently better than any other.  But the results of this study are still quite interesting!

According to the study, graduates of the top 50 liberal arts schools are:

1) 30% more likely than other graduates to report thriving in all five of the following areas of life:

  • their relationships,

  • their physical health,

  • their community,

  • their economic situation,

  • their sense of purpose.

2) 21% more likely than all other graduates to "profess serious commitment to, and enthusiasm about, their jobs."

3) 38% more likely than graduates of the top 50 national universities to say their schools "prepared them well for life."


*But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is that, regardless of school type, graduates fared better in all five of the areas of life described in highlight #1 if, during college, they did any one of these:

  • developed a relationship with a mentor,

  • took on a project that lasted a semester or more,

  • took a job or internship directly connected to their chosen field,

  • became deeply involved in a campus organization or activity (as opposed to minimally involved in a range of things).