It’s pretty predictable which universities will top the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings—Princeton, Harvard, and Yale—though their order may shuffle slightly.
But there’s one measure in which those "top" schools consistently lag behind: how meaningful their graduates feel their jobs are. Every year, PayScale surveys 1.4 million college alumni from over a thousand U.S. colleges. In addition to collecting data on income, they also ask: Does your work make the world a better place? The answer options range from “very much so” to “my job may make the world a worse place.” Apparently, only two thirds of graduates of schools like Harvard and Yale feel that their work is making a difference. The number one school for sending alums off into meaningful work is Loma Linda University in southern California.
“The main factor is job choice, which is largely tied to major,” says Katie Bardaro, lead economist at PayScale. “Typically, the schools that see the most job meaning have majors that make the world a better place.” So which majors should meaning-seeking students choose? Medical fields, social work, and education, according to PayScale's data. Counting down the top schools in the job meaning category are: Loma Linda University (91 percent saying that their job makes the world a better place), University of Texas Medical Branch (88 percent), and Thomas Jefferson University (86 percent)—all with a strong prevalence of nursing majors.