A college graduation rate is not just the number of people who actually graduate and earn a formal degree. It is actually the rate of an institution’s first-time students who graduate from their major program within 150% of its projected time frame. Since only first-time students who take no longer than 6 years to earn a 4-year degree are counted in the graduation rate, the rate can be used to help you determine how successful previous students have been at the school in the past. Colleges use data to calculate several different rates and to assign rankings and graduation rates are considered. If you are not sure where you can find out about a school’s rate, read on and find out what you need to know.
Why Are Graduation Rates Even Important to Commissions?
Student-to-teacher ratios and other data are important, but you might be asking yourself why the graduation rates that are unique to each institution are important to you. After all, these are the rates that pertain to the student body before you and not specifically to you. One of the main reasons why this statistic is so important is because the Commission on the Future of Higher Education recognized that the gap between the graduation rates of low-income students and students who are from wealthier families. Now, other commissions and ranking agencies place a hefty weight on high graduation rates.
Why Should Graduation Rates Be Important to You?
You might still be asking why these rates should be important to you, and the answer is quality. Based on the studies that have been conducted by respected organizations like Fastweb, the graduation or completion rate is the 5th most important indicator that you will get a quality education at the institution. When more first-time students are taught quality curriculum and their professors engage them, they are more likely to stay enrolled. If they stay enrolled without taking breaks, they will be considered a graduate in the rate.
Students who attend schools with high rates are sought after by graduate schools. If you are applying to a business school where the admissions are very competitive, you can stand out from the crowd by having a degree at high-ranked institutions with a good graduation rates. This is why it is important to do your homework on the college before you apply based on student culture or atmosphere.
Where to Find the Rates
If you would like to find graduation rates to compare schools, you can access many different resources online. One valuable resource is Collegeresults.org, which gives you access to the 4, 5 and 6 year graduation rates for all colleges by simply entering the school name and reviewing the college profile. The profile can save you time because you can also review retention and transfer rates. You can also find average rates to do a thorough comparison by visiting the National Center for Education Statistics website.
Many prospective students research a school’s class size or review their degree offerings, but they do not realize just how important graduation rates are. If you are planning to attend school to get an advanced degree, this rate can have an affect on your likelihood of getting accepted to a graduate program. Review the four-year graduation rate of any school you would like to attend, and make a well-educated choice.