There are many factors to consider when choosing the right college: majors offered, cost, campus culture.
But, as you and your child progress through the search, you also want to look toward the future and what each school has to offer at the end of the 4-year journey.
This means looking at a college’s “back-end,” meaning the information on how its students fare at the 4-year mark and beyond.
Here are 3 “back-end” statistics you should consider while searching for the right college.
- Graduation Rates
Grad rates can show you how successful a school is in guiding its students toward a Bachelor’s degree.
Schools present this data in a variety of ways. I recommend looking for a college’s 4-year graduation rate. This will tell you what percentage of the schools’ students are graduating in a 4-year time frame.
If this percentage is low, that doesn’t necessarily mean that students aren’t earning degrees, but it may signal that students are taking longer to earn them at that college. Keep in mind, the longer it takes a student to earn a degree, the more money they are paying in tuition and fees.
The Chronicle of Higher Ed’s College Completion website has compiled graduation rates for private and public from across the country that you and your child can use to help in your college search.
- Employment Rates
Employment rates can show you how a college’s students fare in the job market after graduation. This is particularly important if loans are part of your child’s financial aid plan, because he or she will need to start making payments as soon as six-months after graduation.
Information about employment rates tends to be less concrete than graduation rates, but a good place to start is with Zippia’s list of College’s with Best Employment Rates in Each State.
You can also explore the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which lists the average salary for graduates from most major U.S. colleges.
- Grad School Admission Rates
If your child’s college plan includes pursuing a Master’s or Doctorate, then you will want to consider a college’s success in positioning their students for graduate school.
The Wall Street Journal’s Inside Higher Ed compiled a list of the top “feeder schools” in the U.S., ranking the them based on how many of its students were accepted to grad school.
Questions about this “back-end” information are also a great way to connect with a school’s admissions representative.
Have your child reach out to these reps, either via e-mail or in-person, with questions about how the college helps its students succeed beyond freshman year.
If you want to find out how to get the most for what you pay for college, watch this upcoming webinar at www.collegeprepwebinar.com.