College Admissions: What to Believe in College Rankings
Monday, March 05, 2012
Watch the numbers
Let’s examine the case of a student who wants to become a doctor. He or she may look at the statistics for acceptance to medical school from a “top rated” college and assume that college is the best choice. In reality, the stats are based only on the students who survived the pre-med curriculum. This means that more than 50% of the students could have been dropped from the pre-med program before applying to med school. Unlike high school, many large university science departments grade on a curve, and only a very small percentage of students get an A or B. The truth is that your best chance to get into med school is probably from a small liberal arts college with strong professor support and a commitment to getting students through pre-med.
Don't freak out
Then there are the various party school rankings. Terms like “Hard Liquor” and “Reefer Madness” send chills up the spines of parents, and magazines know that. They are capitalizing on the supermarket tabloid principle that shock sells. Let’s face the facts. If your son or daughter wants to party their four years away in college, they will - regardless of the college’s ranking on any party list. You would be hard-pressed to find a campus without drugs and alcohol in the US today, and usually the ones which make the list are unjustly vilified. If you have concerns, talk to your child and choose a substance-free dorm (available at most colleges), but under no circumstances should you cross a college off your list because it appeared on a college ranking of party schools.
Do it right
So, what is the best way to choose the right college? It is to research the course offerings and professor credentials, understand the availability of special programs like internships, and visit campuses to see the labs, dorms and library. Assimilate information, and then pose questions to students, administrators, professors and alumni. Most importantly, ask yourself “do I feel in my heart that I will thrive at this college for the next four years, academically and personally?” Remember that fewer than 10% of the Fortune 500 CEO’s in the U.S. went to an Ivy League school. It isn’t about rankings, it’s about finding the right college for YOU!
Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC, a Providence-based educational consulting firm which provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com
For more College coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.
- GoLocal’s Super Ranking: Top New England Colleges 2012
- The Top 10: Top New England Colleges 2012
- Super Ranking List: Top New England Colleges 2012
- The Best of Rhode Island: Top New England Colleges 2012
- College Admissions: 6 Biggest Lies in College Admissions
- College Admissions: Another Wave of Scandals
- College Admissions: Are Elite Colleges Losing Their Edge?