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Thursday, October 22, 2015

5 college myths to ignore: Column

Photo: Mark S. Schneider
"How to get good returns on the money and time spent pursuing an education." according to Mark Schneider, vice president and institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

Americans love college rankings. You can learn which schools have gourmet cafeterias, great parties or winning football teams. But if you want to know which school is the right choice for launching your future, these lists aren’t much help. That’s too bad, because most people see post-secondary education as an investment in a better career and a better life. Students and families looking for a good return should ignore these myths about choosing a college:

College class. 
Photo: Jenna Vonhofe, (Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, via AP)
1. You must attend a name brand school
True, Ivy Leaguers tend to fare better in the workforce than other graduates, but their success could trace back to selective admissions, not quality of education. While landing a spot at Harvard, Stanford or Princeton can be as hard as winning the lottery, the average acceptance rate for more than 1,000 public and private schools that report admissions data to the federal government is higher than 65%.

College Measures, an initiative I run, has found that many schools that are not name brand deliver great value for the money. We compared college graduates’ earnings in a half dozen states and found that graduates of many regional campuses earn as much as graduates from state “flagships” — and from most private colleges. Many paths to good jobs and strong wages don’t run through the schools with national reputations.