What is a “Good School”? – Part I

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers.  As a year-end special, we are revisiting a post from earlier this year from guest author Brian Parker Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, MD.  Enjoy!

What is a “Good School”? – Part I

Like nearly everyone reading this, I was watching games at a youth tournament over the recent weekend.  As I was waiting for the next game to start, I overheard two fathers talking and one said to the other “She’s heard from this school and that school but you know, those aren’t good schools”.   Of course, I was dying to go over and interject and say something like “How do you know that?”or “That school has some terrific alumni, like me”.  But of course, I was wearing my own school colors and had to just think about it for a minute.  My strong guess is that I would not have gotten very far and that most soccer parents don’t really know much about how to define what is a “good college” for their kids.  One of the schools he mentioned is a small private that does have very average admissions standards but also has a terrific competitive soccer program with great full-time and experienced coaches.  I wonder if he knew that?

What’s so unnerving is the fact that most parents are about to help make one of the most expensive and important decisions in their child’s life, and they and their kids don’t really know much about how to evaluate a college.  Most of them, like most people generally, are influenced by colleges and formulate their own perceptions of those colleges just like they do for any other business or enterprise – through advertising, marketing, anecdotes, and experience.  Your neighbor went to “School A” and is a sharp guy and had a great experience but the other neighbor went to “School B” and failed out and said he got treated like dirt.  You forgot to ask him about how many classes he went to and that his best memory of his first semester was being the dorm-floor Madden champion on the Xbox!

What is a Good School? The Answer:  It Depends…

The unfortunate answer about deciding if a school is “good” or not is that “It Depends”. Some define “good” more analytically and look at return on investment, or ROI.  You can look at college success largely as a function of earnings power after graduation.  Essentially, what did I get for what I paid for?  For example, Business Week does a comprehensive list: http://tinyurl.com/collegeROI

When you look at the top of these lists, you have to wonder what the other 98% of kids are going to do that aren’t engineers or getting admitted at an Ivy League school, or don’t happen to want to cross the country for college?   Others will rank schools according to admissions standards and things like retention, graduation rates, and how happy students are with the food and dorms.  US News and World Report doesn’t even publish a newsstand magazine any longer but keeps a very influential college ranking.  See http://www.usnews.com/rankings.

So there are at least two big (but often overlooked) questions that should be considered about an individual school and it’s “quality”:

1. What are the students doing in the classes at School A vs School B?

2. What are the graduates of School A doing that School B’s are not or vice versa?

We will take a look at these issues and more in the second installment.  Thanks for reading!  Add your comments below or drop us a line at d3recruitinghub@gmail.com with specific questions.

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About d3recruitinghub

Soccer coach, trainer, business analyst, & project manager.
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