In light of the admissions scandal at a number of universities as revealed by the FBI this past week, a lot has been written about the admissions process and choosing a college. One enjoyable read was from Dr. Denise Pope of Stanford University, “The Right Way to Choose a College,” which appeared in the March 23-24 weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article noted two important findings:
- There is no correlation between college selectivity and future job satisfaction or well-being (2014 Gallup-Purdue Index study);
- A school’s selectivity is a not a reliable predictor of outcomes, especially learning.
More importantly, as stated by Dr. Pope, “What students do at college matters much more than where they go.” Specifically, being active in extracurricular activities, working on projects which span multiple semesters, engaging with faculty and mentors, and participating in meaningful internships are activities that are much more likely to lead to thriving after college and feeling fulfilled at work.
In the Francis College of Engineering, we take pride in providing students with numerous experiential learning opportunities. Whether performing a service-learning project in the community, taking on a leadership position in an Engineering society, competing on the design-build-fly, SAE car, or concrete canoe team, studying abroad, bunking in a Living-Learning-Community, applying classroom knowledge on a co-op or internship, or tackling a two-semester senior design project sponsored by industry, the learning that goes on in the classroom is better understood through its application in these activities. And the activities list is only enhanced by being on a comprehensive campus, as one can compete with the mock trial team (yes, engineers compete here too), join an intramural or varsity sports team, play in a band, sing in a choir, or play underwater hockey (yes, we have a team for that!). In addition to the learning and fun, these activities also enhance a resume and prepare one for success after college.
The research shows that one key to life after college is to get engaged while in college. Come see what UMass Lowell has to offer!