Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to judge whether a college or grad school is good

Most colleges don't provide the following information, but it's so helpful in deciding if and where you should attend college or graduate school. Ask and see what you get:

  • Evidence of value-added: Does the program give pre-post tests to see how much students grow in, for example, critical thinking skills, writing and research ability? Is its value-added superior to competing programs or colleges?
  • The cash, loan, and work-study financial aid package you'll likely receive in your 2nd through 6th years. Some colleges use the drug-dealer scam: they give you the first dose cheap and then, after you're hooked, raise the price.
  • Retention data: the percentage of students returning for a second year, broken out by S.A.T. score, race, and gender.
  • The percentage of the institution’s students who have been robbed or assaulted on or near campus.
  • Employment data for graduates: The percentage of graduates who, within six months of graduation are in graduate school, unemployed, employed in a job requiring college-level skills, are earning less than $30,000 a year, $30,000-60,000, $60,000-90,000, $90,000+.
  • The most recent results of a student satisfaction survey.
  • The most recent accreditation visiting team report.

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