College rankings worth considering
November 15, 2012 1:42PM
Updated: December 19, 2012 11:57AM
Dear Mr. Bradshaw — I am applying to 10 or more colleges, and I came across the latest college rankings published by U.S. News & World Report.
How important are these rankings in getting a job after graduation, and how should I evaluate them? — ApplicantDear Applicant
— College rankings can be important for several reasons.
The most obvious is, they indicate the quality of the faculty and student body. In a nutshell, the best colleges draw the best students and professors.
Competition among schools is fierce, and the rankings serve as a measure of their success.
For example, the 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings show the following admission selectivity rates that can used by employers as a gauge in recruiting employees.
† Indiana University is ranked 82nd with a 72 percent admissions rate.
† Purdue is ranked 65th with a 68 percent admissions rate.
† Notre Dame is ranked 17th with a 24 percent admission rate.
† Harvard and Princeton are tied and rank first with a 6 percent and 8.5 percent admissions rate, respectively.
Translated into practical terms, if you are applying for a summer internship, the selectivity of your college is a huge advantage. Many companies use these rankings to decide where to recruit and know that top colleges already have done much of the work for them by vetting students through the competitive application process.
In fact, many students are offered full-time employment after completing summer internships.
Take, for example, a student who is interested a career in finance. Despite the recent calamity in the economy, Wall Street still attracts the cream of the crop of economics majors.
To get an internship at one of the top firms is not easy.
The profile of the successful candidate is heavily skewed toward students at schools that score well in the rankings.
Company officials know that he or she must be an outstanding person to be admitted to a top college. The student will have had high scores on entrance examinations and an exemplary extracurricular activity record.
The years of hard work and preparation that precede admission to a top college are considered when employers are considering new hires.
After all, these companies are putting their futures in the hands of these young people, and they will be competing for promotions and greater responsibility throughout their careers.
To be sure, magazine rankings are not perfect predictors of future employment success.
You need to make sure that your college choice is a “good fit” for your career aspirations, and that you dedicate yourself to making the most of your undergraduate experience.