Thursday, September 05, 2013

Review: The Alumni Factor

About the Book:
Most college and university ranking guides give insight into who comes into the college. The Alumni Factor is more interested in who comes out. This book began with a simple premise--that there is a better way to assess and rank colleges and universities in America than those currently being offered. The primary outcomes of most of today's rankings are: 
1. To provide readers a view of what life is like as an undergraduate, and 
2. To give insight into who comes into the college.
The Alumni Factor, on the other hand, is more interested in who comes out.
The aim of this guide is to describe how well a college or university actually develops and shapes its students and what becomes of them after they graduate. The Alumni Factor is interested in the actual outcomes experienced by college graduates and the role their college played in creating those outcomes. The Alumni Factor believes this information regarding graduate outcomes is truly essential to understanding and assessing our colleges and universities today.

In line with these goals, The Alumni Factor provides a detailed, in-depth profile of graduates from 177 of our nations top colleges. The profiles were constructed almost entirely with data and insights from the actual college alumni themselves. Readers will find The Alumni Factor to be a fascinating look at the incredibly diverse academic, social and cultural choices available to capable students today.

My Comments:
By the time you read this, my daughter will have started her freshman year at Northwestern Louisiana State University.  It is not one of the schools listed in this book.  Locally, schools that are listed include LSU (71), Tulane (162), Loyola (117), or venturing a bit further, Mississippi State University (41) and Ole Miss (134).  The top three schools in the country were Princeton, Washington and Lee and Annapolis.  While I wouldn't call this book engrossing reading, it gives another perspective to those looking for the ideal school.  Frankly, the descriptions of how they compute their rankings are somewhat mind-numbing but the results are presented in easy-to-read graphic formats throughout the book.  

The book is based in alumni rating their schools on factors such as intellectual development social and communications skills development, spiritual development, developing deep friendships, staying close to undergraduate friends, preparation for career success and immediate job opportunities.  After presenting several overall lists, each of the 227 schools is given two pages and a verbal overview of the school is given next to charts rating it against other schools of the same type and size.  For example, Notre Dame ranks 6th  among 136 national universities, it is 6th among 51 medium schools and its overall rank is 16th among the 227 schools rated.  It ranks second, behind BYU for spiritual development and 18th in alumni giving, but only 52nd for value for the money.  It is 46th in overall happiness of the alumni.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.

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