Class Struggle: Colleges

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 06/19/2012

Admissions 101: What are the new hidden gems for summer college visits?

Ten years ago, I created a list of 100 colleges that deserve bigger reputations. It proved popular, but now it’s time for an update.

By Jay Mathews  |  02:00 PM ET, 06/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Jay Mathews' list of 100 colleges that are better than you think, Mathews invites readers to suggest new hidden gem colleges, a guide for families doing summer college visits, in 2003 Elon, Earlham and Clark topped the list

Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 03/13/2012

Admissions 101: Do you prefer college acceptances and rejections be done by Web site or envelope?

At the end of this month, college acceptance and rejection notices go out. If you had the choice, would you prefer to hear by Web site or envelope?

By Jay Mathews  |  11:42 AM ET, 03/13/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Admissions 101 | Tags:  admissions 101, Higher Education, Colleges

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Veterans, struggling students need more college support

There is no better gauge to what is happening on U.S. college campuses than the National Survey of Student Engagement. It is full of surprises. (My recent favorite: having a helicopter parent is GOOD for your academic experience, NSSE discovered.) This year, based on forms filled out of 362,000 students on 564 campuses, the survey finds that the kinds of students I thought would be getting the most help---military veterans and new students in trouble---are often getting the least.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:00 PM ET, 11/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web | Tags:  James S. Cole, National Survey of Student Engagement, colleges with the most active advisor programs often have the best graduation rates, new students in trouble the most likely to think they don't need support, veterans say they are getting less support

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/09/2010

America's best community colleges

Here's one more sign that community colleges don't get respect. I waited two weeks after the publication of the Washington Monthly's new ranked list of these overlooked schools before I bestirred myself to write this column. For someone whose family history is entwined with community colleges, that's bad.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Trends | Tags:  America's Best Community Colleges, Kevin Carey, schools ranked by best teaching practices, top-50 list community colleges excel four-year universities

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 09/02/2010

What your college counselor doesn't know

An insightful new book on the admissions process has convinced me that many hardworking and thoughtful high school counselors have a weak spot that I have overlooked. Both they and I don’t have as deep an understanding of the intricacies of college finance as is needed in this era of huge tuition bills.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 09/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Local Living | Tags:  Debt-Free U, High school counselors are weak on financing college, Zac Bissonnette book, tendency to favor expensive private colleges

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 08/27/2010

America's worst colleges

The Washington Monthly, a tiny bastion of high-grade journalism in the nation's capital, tries every year to kill the celebratory buzz greeting the latest U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Colleges" list. This time the monthly has outdone itself with what might be called the anti-U.S. News list, 50 carefully ranked colleges that have to be worst nightmare of any student who aspires to deep learning and careful career preparation.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 08/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Trends | Tags:  50 colleges with the lowest graduation rates, Chicago State same demographics as NCCU, Washington Monthly list, but much worse results

Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 08/16/2010

A's for public universities, F's for privates

At the next gathering of family or friends, or better yet wherever you are doing your drinking, ask why a major organization promoting the improvement of higher education has just given Yale, Northwestern and the University of California at Berkeley F's on its latest college rankings. Then when they turn in your direction tell them the same organization gave A's to Brooklyn College, Kennesaw State and East Tennessee State.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:01 AM ET, 08/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web | Tags:  American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Brooklyn College gets an A, Yale given an F on new college list, colleges require few courses, only 77 percent require composition, only five percent require economics

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 02/16/2010

College ratings to trust

If you are, as the law school applicant in my family has begun to call them, a prestige whore, then I guess the U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges rankings are for you. Those lists are based heavily on what colleges think of each other---what is called the reputational score. The higher the rank, the wider the smile on your grandmother's face when you get in. But if you want an introduction to a lesser known, but to my mind more useful, rating of undergraduate institutions, take a close look at the National Survey of Student Engagement.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 02/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web | Tags:  George Kuh, Godzilla, National Survey of Student Engagement, U.S. News America's Best Colleges, best college ratings, measuring college value

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010

Readers question Challenge Index

Q. The downside not discussed is that from 1989 to 2009, the percentage of AP exams earning a 1 (lowest score) has doubled, from 10% to 20%. Over that same period, the mean score declined from just over 3 to 2.89. This tells me a lot of kids are being pushed into a AP classes for which they aren't ready or motivated.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Trends | Tags:  Advanced Placement, Challenge Index, Darwin, International Baccalaureate, selective colleges, special education