Rankings, College Edition

Are High College Rankings any Indication of what those Colleges Help their Graduates Make?

college photoIf you followed college rankings as a way to decide what college gives you the best chance of success in life, you would have to take the Ivy League schools over everything else wouldn’t you? Such an education could open doors for you. Surprisingly though, a little levelheaded analysis applied to the subject would bring you to a very different kind of conclusion.

On average, schools with high college rankings typically charge something like $10,000 a year more than what public schools do. When in-state public colleges actually offer deals that end up costing a third of what any private college does, you do have to wonder. What exactly is it that highly ranked private college offer for all that extra money they charge? Certainly, they have fewer students to a teacher, and the colleges have better facilities and great alumni networks that give their graduates a great foot in the door when they try to get a job. But that’s not really what matters in life. What people imagine Ivy League colleges will do for them is, they imagine that they will give them better jobs and better salaries. Are great college rankings a reasonable way in which to make sure that you land better jobs and better salaries?

Socially-minded observers of the education scene actually believe that public school might take the honors when it comes to ensuring better jobs and salaries for graduates. The thing is, you end up paying so much in fees and allied costs at the great expensive name brand colleges that your net income, when you deduct the cost of your education there from what you get to make through your working life, college photodoesn’t really end up being much. On the other hand, state universities and other no-name places where you can get a good education cost so little that in the end, you end up keeping somuch more of what you make through life. In absolute terms, what you get to make with a Harvard degree may be great; but when you factor in the costs involved in getting a degree, your income over your working life just doesn’t come anywhere near what you stand to make getting well a cheaper degree.

Most young high school graduates go to college because they hope to be able to make a better paycheck. Having a huge unpaid student loan to have to balance for years makes the whole chase after high college rankings a waste of time. Study after study finds that if you balance the cost of what you invest in your college against what you end up making through life, the private colleges are not even in the top 20.

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