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Graduating from Top University Doesn't Guarantee Career Happiness

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A degree from a top university doesn't necessarily guarantee a graduate is a better worker or a happier person, a new Gallup survey found.

The Gallup survey showed that the level of institution a person attends matters less to future happiness than the experience they had at school. The survey was conducted as part of a joint-research effort with Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation to study the relationship between the college experience and college graduates' lives.

Gallup conducted the survey on the Web between Feb. 4 and March 7, 2014. Nearly 30,000 adults who had completed at least a bachelor's degree responded to the survey.

Instead of choosing the most highly-acclaimed university, the survey shows that prospective students would be best served finding an institution that offers them a combination of academics and experience. Gallup found a number of factors that result in better odds of "being engaged at work" and of "thriving in all areas of well-being," including having a mentor who encouraged them, having professors who cared about them as a person, having an internship that allowed them to see what they were learning in the classroom, or being "extremely" active in extracurricular activities and organizations while in college.

While many top schools offer students the opportunities to experience many or all of these things, the Gallup data indicates that prospective students should think as much about the experiences that a school offers as they do about its selectivity rate or name recognition.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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