The Importance Of Higher Education

Submitted By jnovak57
Words: 1782
Pages: 8

What made you pick the college you attended? When picking a school there are many factors that coincide with choosing the right school such as price and affordability, student outcome, if they have your major, etc. You must choose wisely because you will be spending the next four years of your life here. There are many online resources and websites that rank colleges for the use of perspective students and parents. One can concur from the lists that the higher a university ranks the better that school is; however, this is not always the case. These rankings only give you a taste of what the college is like and does not factor in many of the important details one must consider when trying to pursue higher education. The rankings do not fully capture the quality of the school. When people want to know how “good” a university is, they often turn to published media rankings, such as the rankings from US News and World Report and Washington Monthly. Each published website has their own way of ranking schools. The US News and World Report (USNWR) has seven key categories in which it ranks schools. Each of these categories has a percent value for which it counts into the whole ranking. Most of the categories have sub-divisions, which count as a percentage to their category score. The first category, retention, has two sub-divisions to it. The six-year graduation rate counts for 80% of the graduation/retention score. This entails all those who earn a degree in six years or less. Then freshman retention rate accounts for the other 20% of the score. This is the amount of freshmen that return for their sophomore year and eventually graduate. The next category is faculty resource, which has multiple sub divisions. The first subdivision is classes with less than 20 students (30%) and the proportion of classes with more than 50 students counts for 10%. Then there’s faculty salary, (35%) which is the average faculty pay plus their benefits. The next sub-division is professors with higher degrees in their field (15%), student faculty ratio (5%) and finally the proportion of faculty who are full time (5%). All of these factors make up the faculty resource category. The next category is student selectivity, which is comprised of SAT and composite ACT scores (65%), acceptance rate (10%) and percentage of students who graduated high school in the top ten percent of their class (25%). The next category is financial resources. This is based on per student spending on research, student services, and related educational expenditure. However, spending on sports, dorms and hospitals does not count in this score. Finally there is graduation rate performance, which shows the effect of college programs and policies on the graduation rate of students (“How US News Calculates College Rankings,” 2014, p.3-4). This is calculated by the difference of graduation rate for the predicated class and the actual graduation performance.
The Washington Monthly has an entirely different rating system, comprised of only three categories. The first is social mobility, which is based off of the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and the predicted graduation rate versus the actual rate of graduation. Social mobility also includes the average net price for full-time, first year students who receive financial aid. The next category is research. The subdivisions of research include the total amount of expenditures and the total number of bachelor recipients who go on to receive PhDs, relative to their schools size. The final category is service. This is based off of the total number of graduates who go into the Peace Corps, and the percentage of students who serve in the ROTC. Service is also constructed from the percentage of funds in federal work-study money that goes to community service. It also includes the number of students participating in community service and number of hours of service performed. This is combined between the staff supporting community