Monday, November 05, 2007

Picking a Good College

Ironically as I checked out the results from the latest National Survey of Student Engagement, College Boy called me on his cell-phone.

I disavow the overused helicopter label but will admit this son stays in touch more than his older brother did 11 years ago. That’s a Millennial trademark by the way. This year’s findings show
“Contrary to what some educators believe, students who frequently talk with the parents and follow their advice participate more frequently in educationally purposeful activities and are more satisfied with their college experience. This is also true for students with so-called ‘helicopter parents’—those who intervened with institutional officials to solve problems their student encountered on campus.”

Approximately 313,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 610 four-year colleges and universities in the U. S. and Canada participated in the survey.

Other findings of note: When faculty members provide guidance and feedback on projects and papers, students are more satisfied and say they benefit more in desired ways, students who study abroad report greater gains in intellectual and personal development than peers who don’t, internship or field placement is the most powerful form of senior experience and 13 percent of first-year students have parents who frequently intervene with college officials and another 25 percent had parents who did so sometimes.

USA TODAY has a searchable database of 257 schools organized by institution type. NSSE benchmarks are compared to the average in five categories: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment. For the first time this year, some colleges and universities are sharing this typically private information with the public.

A push for greater transparency and a growing dissatisfaction with the much-hyped U.S. News & World Report rankings are perhaps behind the willingness to go public. It’s certainly a great tool in research during the search for the right college.

Here in Springfield, Mo., Drury University’s rankings are well above average in all areas for first-year students and for seniors in all but one area. In four out of five areas, Drury’s first-year student benchmarks were at least five points higher than the average for peer institutions. And that is a rather strong indication that Drury University is providing an excellent education for her students.

And in case you were wondering, CB's college, Hendrix, fared pretty good too and is a particularly supportive campus, which is very reassuring even if one is not a helicopter parent. And I swear I am not!


Lorelei said...

I was hoping to see University of North Carolina at Charlotte since it would appear that will be our CB's only choice since that's where we're about to move.

Sheila said...

This was about 1/3 of the total colleges that participated. If UNC at Charlotte did participate, maybe they'll announce the results. You have some time anyway, don't you?

I didn't know you were moving. Good luck. I hear North Carolina is a great state to live in.