The college search and application process went into high gear last week with the first scheduled break for Seniors to visit colleges. Every year around this time we pore over the various college rankings that come out from US News, Princeton Review, Forbes, etc. And every year, these ‘expert’ lists slightly juggle the ordering of the “usual suspect” elite schools. As an example, Burke.Word bets that more than 95% of you can guess the top 3 schools in US News’ 2011 list (here’s a hint: many applicants would be HaPpY if they were accepted here).
But not everyone’s buyin’ it. A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal came at things from a different angle, and ranked schools on the basis of its survey of large corporate recruiters, who last year hired 43,000 graduates. Burke.Word bets that more than 95% of you (who didn’t read the article) won’t know the three top school on this list. Here’s a hint: Penn State (#47 in US News), Texas A&M (#63), and U. of Ill. (#47). How can that be, you ask? Here’s what the recruiters told the WSJ:
“… [G]raduates of top public universities are often among the most prepared and well-rounded academically, and companies have found they fit well into their corporate cultures and over time have the best track record in their firms… State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck.”
This isn’t to say that these schools are necessarily the best schools for any particular student. And certainly lots of Burke kids go to elite schools, like Harvard, Williams, Brown, etc. But it does show that there really is more than one lens to look through when evaluating what schools might be best for you. Ranking schools based on someone else’s criteria is pretty easy. The harder and more interesting question is how do you rank your own criteria for what is important to you in a school. Read the whole thing.