Plan For College

Friday, October 19, 2012

A New Way to Look at College Rankings: The Alumni Factor

From time to time, we find new websites that take a look at the college planning process from a different angle. When we find them, we like to share them with our readers - parents and students. This is a guest blog post by Monica McGurk, CEO of The Alumni Factor. Let us know what you think in the comments section below:

As early decision and early action deadlines are quickly approaching, families across the country are focused on making one of life’s major decisions – choosing a college.  Undoubtedly, parents and students alike are questioning whether college is really worth it, especially given the rising cost of tuition and the alarmingly high levels of student loan debt.  Making this important decision even more challenging, there are more than 2,000 college and universities in the United States from which to choose. As a result, families crave quantifiable data that measures the value of an education at one school versus another. 


The Alumni Factor, a new college rankings system, is seeking to determine higher education’s return on investment by answering the question “Who comes out of college?”  While it seems a new or updated college ranking publication is released regularly, many of these rankings are often based on reputation and publicly available data that doesn’t really accurately measure the quality of a college or university.  In fact, most college rankings offered today measure virtually everything BUT the actual performances of schools or their graduates.

With The Alumni Factor, colleges are assessed by using objective alumni data based on life outcomes – how successful each school’s graduates are in their careers and lives including income, job opportunities, career preparedness and overall happiness.  While the economy remains volatile and prospective college students and their parents weigh the costs, rewards and outcomes of attending college, this is a critical piece of the puzzle that until now has been missing in the college ranking space. 

One thing that I’m most proud of, as it relates to The Alumni Factor, is that our ranking opens students’ eyes to a broader set of options. The college search doesn't have to begin and end with the Ivies and the name-brand schools. There are hundreds of schools out there from which to choose — some known and some less known, but all worthy of attention.  Each brings its unique approach to education and relative strengths to the table, making it easier than ever to find the right fit – whatever your goals as a college student may be.

We believe The Alumni Factor is providing students and parents with the kind of detailed information that can help them find the right college fit during an otherwise stressful and sometimes disheartening college application process.

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