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How to Evaluate the Best Top-Tier Universities

How to Evaluate the Best Top-Tier Universities

The Right University Comes Down to More than Just Name

Choosing a university is a decision that will decidedly impact one’s future. If you’re in a position to evaluate the options for a loved one in your life, it’s not something to be taken lightly.  

Harvard, Yale, Oxford – There are plenty of top-tier universities to choose from, and perhaps you already have a specific option in mind, but keep an open mind. There’s far more to the decision than going on a university’s name and reputation alone. Ultimately, it comes down to where the best fit might be.

As part of our commitment to the learning community, we’ve provided this guide to how you can sift through the options and work with your loved one to find the best education destination for him or her.

SEE ALSO: How to Find Like-Minded Peers in an Increasingly Social World

Look at the Numbers

Throughout the internet, you can find a plethora of lists of “best colleges” and “top 10 universities.” But what leads to getting on those lists?  

While it’s convenient to see the most common top universities in list-form, it’s essential you research further.

Here are some statistics that will reveal which options are worth pursuing:

  • Freshman retention rate: Are students happy at this university? If a freshman retention rate is high, the answer is yes. If the number appears low, that means students aren’t coming back for their sophomore year.
  • Success after college: Which colleges have produced the most millionaires? (According to a recent study, the answer is Harvard, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania.) The most members of Congress or presidents? Look at the people who have been most successful in your loved one’s chosen path and identify any trends in which universities they attended.
  • Reputation of professors in chosen career path: To be taught by the best, it’s a good idea to look at the credentials and experience of the professors within the degree your loved one is pursuing.

Leverage Existing Relationships

At the end of the day, connections at the universities you’re evaluating will have a big impact on choice. Whether through alumni, university-backed charitable organizations, or personal relationships with the university president, deans, or esteemed professors, it’s always an excellent idea to meet in person with those you know already at each university.

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