Out of 2,000 adults surveyed, 73% agree that college is important to educate people about adult life beyond the classroom.

TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE: Many graduates would like a college do-over — and would change careers

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For the majority of Americans attending college, it’s not just about the quality of education — it’s also about the social and life experience.

Out of 2,000 adults surveyed, 73% agree that college is important to educate people about adult life beyond the classroom, with a little under half saying they want to try college again to gain more life lessons according to OnePoll. 

Approximately 44% of respondents of the OnePoll survey — taken on behalf of Texas Tech University — say they want to try college again not because they disliked their first experience but because they didn’t learn enough vital life skills, such as banking or time management.

Forty-six percent say doing well in school and getting good grades was found to be the hardest part of college, with 45% listing time management, more responsibilities (44%) and living on your own (43%) as some of the main challenges.

Seventy-three percent agreed that college is important to educate people about adult life beyond the classroom.
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44% said they are keen to try college again to learn more life skills.
Forty-four percent said they are keen to try college again to learn more life skills.

“We all hear the national conversations about the costs of attending college, asking whether the experience is worth it,” Jamie Hansard, the Texas Tech vice president for enrollment management, said. “While what students learn in the classroom can be foundational for the goals and careers they want to pursue, it’s important to understand that the value of college goes far beyond a person’s academic achievements.”

Of the respondents who have attended college, most (85%) believe college prepared them for adult life, but 80% agree if they could go back, they would change some things about their college experience.

75% of Americans believe college isn’t just about school but also teaches important life lessons.
Surveyed graduates listed a number of reasons for choosing a particular school.

Of those surveyed, 42% are interested in learning new skill sets and 39% want to change their career path.

However, many respondents appeared happy with their college choices.

Of the life skills those respondents picked up during their time in college, organizational skills (53%) and discovering their passions (47%) ranked as the top two.

When asked what skills college taught them that they still apply to adult life, they listed: “How to be independent,” “How to arrive when instructed” and “How to approach people in the correct way” as life skills they learned.

Respondents also suggested improvements for the college experience and to help them gain employment.

Ranking high on this list: Forty-two percent said helping with job interviews and applications and 39% said being affordable for all students. 

85% believe college prepared them for adult life.
85% believe college prepared them for adult life.

Nearly a third of respondents who attended college said the highlight of their experience was making friends, and 70% of those who attended college work in the field associated with their degree.

Seventy percent of all respondents agree that their career goals are more attainable if they attend college, with some surveyed listing a few specific factors when choosing a school. Forty-one percent said they’d prefer classes or seminars that teach about life beyond the classroom, and positive testimonials from current or previous students would sway them to choose a certain school.

The poll surveyed 2,000 adults.
The poll surveyed 2,000 adults.

“It’s nearly impossible to assign a dollar amount to the value of college,” Texas Tech’s Hansard said. “How do you put a number on discovering your passion? How do you put a value on the friendships you make in college, many that last a lifetime and may help you reach your goals later in life? How do you put a number on the personal growth and development you experience along the way?” he asked.

“College can help you do all these things and give you an education. If you take advantage of those opportunities, it’s absolutely worth it,” he concluded.


  • Learn new skill sets: 42%
  • Didn’t take advantage of learning life skills: 40%
  • Changing my career path: 39%
  • Interested in certain skills: 38%
  • Lower cost/affordability: 37%
  • Have extra time: 37%
  • Want to meet new people: 34%

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