College Rankings and Your Decision on Where to go to College

September 13th, 2010 by admin

It may shock some when college students say that college rankings from national magazines are no longer one of the top reasons why they choose one college over another. UCLA recently performed a national survey of 219, 864 first-year students at 297 colleges to prove college rankings were no longer important. The results were shocking to some but just as UCLA had predicted.

College rankings were still on the list of 22 reasons, but they fell from 11th place in the 2009 college rankings survey to 12th place. They have been moving out of the top-10 since 2009 and it seems other measures are becoming more and more important to students. These include the academic reputation of the school, graduate to job ratio, financial aid offers, and the cost of attending.

It seems, from this survey, that first-year students used the rankings as one of many tools in choosing the school that fit their needs. Here are the actual 22 reasons that students were offered in the UCLA survey. They are ranked in descending order, based on which factors most influenced their decision to attend their particular college:

Reasons for Picking Your College

1. College has very good academic reputation (63.6 percent)
2 .This college’s graduates get good jobs (56.5 percent)
3. I was offered financial assistance (44.7 percent)
4. The cost of attending this college (41.6 percent)
5. A visit to the campus (41.4 percent)
6. Wanted to go to a college about this size (39.8 percent)
7. College has a good reputation for social activities (39.3 percent)
8. Grads get into good grad/professional schools (34.6 percent)
9. Wanted to live near home (20.1 percent)
10. Information from a website (19.2 percent)
11. Parents wanted me to go to this school (18.8 percent)College-rankings
12. College Rankings in national magazines (18.5 percent)
13. Admitted early decision and/or early action (12.9 percent)
14. Could not afford first choice (12.2 percent)
15. High school counselor advised me (10.3 percent)
16. Not offered aid by first choice (8.9 percent)
16. Athletic department recruited me (8.9 percent)
18. Attracted by religious affiliation/orientation of college (7.8 percent)
18. My teacher advised me (7.8 percent)
20. My relatives wanted me to come here (7.3 percent)
21. Private college counselor advised me (3.6 percent)
22. Ability to take online courses (2.7 percent)

What were some of the reasons you choose the college you did?  What influenced you in your choice of college?

Citation: “Students Say College Rankings Aren’t Most Important Part of Decision”. Bob Morse, February 4, 2009.   Read the whole article here.

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