It’s easy to feel that college admissions decisions reflect how worthy a student is. It’s harder to realize that life is full of twists and turns, most of which we don’t see coming. Studies have shown that the ranking of the college a student attends is less important than how engaged a student is.
-Participating in clubs and teams
-Meeting with instructors and professors during office hours
-Attending extra study sessions outside of class
-Doing work related to academic interests through undergraduate research, internships, and coop positions
-Finding a mentor who shares your interests
Not ready to give up your well-thumbed college ranking? Would you be surprised to know that most college rankings do not attempt to measure factors like how much students learn during college, if they are able to declare their first choice major, what percentage of graduates are working in their field within six months of graduation or how much student debt graduates have 5-10 years after graduation?
What does this mean for you? Don’t be hypnotized by the marketing. Be willing to look beyond the handful of colleges with the best known names. Realize that small liberal arts colleges and large state schools may also offer many opportunities to engage and thrive.
Read what the research has to say about the basis of one popular ranking list and the value of prioritizing student engagement instead.
A “Fit” Over College Rankings: Why College Engagement Matters More Than Rankings