Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The College Report Card: A Tool for Selecting a College

Dear Students and Parents,

You've narrowed down to a few colleges. This can help you make the choice wisely. Give each college you're considering a grade from A to F on each of these factors:

1. Academic fit (for example, you'd likely do best as a big fish in a less selective pond)

2. Social fit (for example, you're studious and would grow most among politically liberal students)

3. Emotional fit (for example, you're nervous and so you want a college that's small and close to home)

4. Weather (often important: it affects you every day of every year)

Ask the admissions office for the following. Even if a college refuses, that too is telling.

5. The 4-year graduation rate for students with your high-school grades and test scores.

6. Likely 4-year cost given your family income & assets

7. Results of the latest student satisfaction survey

8. Evidence for freshman-to-senior value-added

9. Most recent accreditation visiting team report

10. For your intended major, % of graduates professionally employed or in grad school within one year of graduation.

11. Any other factor you care about (prestige, size, religiosity, availability or quality of a major, disability services, etc.)

Now, average the grades for each college. If you wish, give more weight to the factor(s) most important to you.

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