This time it’s an alumni ranking
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on this new player in the US college rankings:
If you had it to do all over again, would you choose to attend your alma mater? Do you think the education you received there was a good value? How much money do you make? Oh, and are you happy?
The newest player in the college-rankings game has asked such questions of more than 42,000 college graduates. Called the Alumni Factor, the new venture has released a college guide based largely on the opinions of those who’ve earned bachelor’s degrees from one of 177 institutions.
U.S. News & World Report’s popular rankings tell you a lot about who comes through a college’s gates; the Alumni Factor’s rankings were designed to capture who emerges at the other end of the enrollment cycle. The former relies, in part, on the opinions of outsiders to rate a given college; the latter relies on the opinions of people who, presumably, know the place well.
“We want to pierce the bubble of reputation,” says the introduction to the Alumni Factor’s guide, “to understand how graduates actually perform post-graduation—and hear what they have to say about the job their college did to prepare them.”
Although the nation’s shelves are already full—perhaps too full—of college guides, the Alumni Factor’s timing, at least, seems impeccable. Today’s students and parents are asking more questions about outcomes, about the success and salaries of an institution’s graduates.
According to the blurb the Alumni Factor research “listened to the people who’ve been overlooked in popular college rankings”, ie the Alumni. Looking at the sample reports on colleges on The Alumni Factor website the ratings do look pretty comprehensive, covering actual outcomes–career success, financial success, and graduates’ happiness:
The weaknesses of the project seem to me to be its limited coverage, with only 177 institutions covered, and the fact that it is a monthly subscription service. With so many other guides and rankings it’s not clear why you would pay monthly for access to this data. And, as noted in relation to the UK in the previous post, there really isn’t an information deficit in higher education. Suspect though there will be something like this in the UK before long.