Impact and Outcomes

What We Know

The data shown here is about the Reflecting on Your Life program at Harvard College.  Harvard chose to share this data to demonstrate the impact and outcomes of this type of programming.  This particular survey was conducted in the spring of 2014 with analysis by Rachel Gable, doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Much of the credit for the language of the survey belongs to Dartmouth College.  Their assessment of the impact of students' participation in service, spirituality, and social justice programs was instructive and inspirational.   

Value of Reflecting on Your Life Program at Harvard College

Harvard’s Reflecting on Your Life program helped first-year students to put their own concerns about their futures in context and conversation with other first-year students.  It helped students gain perspective on their own fears and ambitions, and helped model ways of talking about future plans in terms of students’ own identity, values, and goals for life.  

Reflecting on Your Life's Impact on Participating Students' Reflection Practices

Harvard’s Reflecting on Your Life program made an impact on students’ tendency to reflect on their own purpose, values, and goals for college and beyond.  This program increased students' tendency to both reflect on their own and with their peers and mentors on concepts of a meaningful and purposeful life.  While this program did not have as much of an effect on students’ thinking about their responsibility to society (something that may be addressed in future years), they did come away with tools for considering, evaluating, and articulating pathways and obstacles to a purposeful, valuable life.  

Reflecting on Your Life's Impact on Students' Daily Habits

Participation in Reflecting on Your Life generally increased students’ tendencies to try something new, to seek balance in their lives, and to be more authentic in their interactions with peers.  These habits lay a foundation for community thriving on campus, as they help individuals as well as the larger community to grow more inclusive, more willing to take risks, and more apt to incorporate new knowledge and ideas into established practices.  

Reflecting on Your Life's Impact on Students' Habits in Relation to Others

Areas for growth with regard to Reflecting on Your Life, its goals, and impact on students, include helping students to develop tools that will enable them to reach out to their peers and community in meaningful ways, and to find the courage and voice when necessary to take a stand on issues that matter to them personally.