Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published on Admitted in December 2017. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.
Feeling stressed about the college application process? Take heart.
“There are plenty of great schools in this country, and what matters much more than how they are ranked is how you make use of their resources,” Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University (CT), writes in a column published by The Washington Post.
He continues: “When I talk to seniors and recent graduates from schools of all kinds and in various parts of the country, I find that it matters little how difficult it was to get admitted to that school and that it matters a great deal how hard they worked while attending it.”
Finding the “right fit” college can be a stressful and confusing process for students and families. Students often do not know how to find the “right fit” or what that even means.
To mitigate this uncertainty, some students turn to college rankings and the selectivity of an institution as indicators of quality. But this approach can be problematic as each student has a unique set of needs, goals, dreams, and desires in their college selection process that may not accurately be reflected in a college’s rank.
Are the families you serve overly concerned about college selectivity?
Researchers at Challenge Success — a nonprofit organization based at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education — released a white paper this fall that calls into question the value of university rankings.
“There is no question that the college admission process can be stressful. We hope that this paper prompts students and families to examine what college success means to them and to question common assumptions about college selectivity,” the authors note in the paper’s executive summary.