dcsimg
You are here:

Visibility Vs. Quality: Which Makes the Better College?

How often are high school students told that, in order to be successful, they must attend a college that is above all things instantly recognizable? While high visibility is usually a great indicator that a school is quality material, there are many other factors that may balance out or even outweigh elements like visibility alone. Today, a blog article in the New York Times challenges the importance of a "pedigree" when it comes to the college experience.

Marty O'Connell, executive director of non-profit college resource Colleges That Change Lives, contributed the guest article as a response to students' confusion over what exactly they should be looking for in a potential college. "We exist," she says, "in a name-brand obsessed culture which creates stress-inducing media headlines every year, all year - including during the summer, when high school seniors are winnowing their prospective colleges list." Time and time again, name recognition tops those lists. O'Connell, however, asserts the importance of something parents and school counselors sometimes overlook in their zeal to do what's best -- the students' own success and happiness.

"To counteract the notion that 'a college can't be any good if I've never heard of it,'" she says in her article, "I challenge students to think about the people in their lives who are happy and successful and find out where, or if, they went to college. Doing this same exercise using 'famous' people, they discover that most often the name and visibility of a college choice has much less to do with success in life than do the experience and opportunities students take advantage of during their college years." It's certainly food for thought -- if colleges build their good names on reputation, how do they build up that reputation without students ready to vouch for them as a pillar of their success? As she puts it another way, what if colleges turned away students for never having heard of their high school? There has to be a better way to choose colleges, to pick the best fit without everyone clamoring for the same Ivy Leagues.

According to O'Connell, the key lies in finding the best fit for each individual student: a process that involves slightly less report-reading and slightly more soul searching. Students are encouraged to make lists of their reasons for school -- "Why, really, are you going? What are your abilities and strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you want out of life, or in life--something tangible or intangible? Are you socially self-sufficient or do you need warm, familial support? What kind of learning community do you want to be part of?" -- and share the lists with parents and teachers to help choose a school that will best compliment one's individual interests and life goals, from a small private art college to an online business degree, from a close-to-home vocational school to pursuing the Ivy Leagues after all.

Of course, there are caveats that everyone should look for, regardless of visibility. The most important thing: accreditation. Any school worth your consideration should be an accredited school without fail, and one of the best things about highly-recognized schools is that there's usually no question that they have their credentials in order. That said, all it takes is a little research to make sure your school comes out on top. Other than that, what matters most is what will make you happy -- regardless of whether or not it tops the popularity charts.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • University of Phoenix

    At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Nursing/Nurse Education
    • B.S. in Environmental Science
    • Doctor of Education/Educational Leadership
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of Phoenix Request Info »
  • Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

    Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

    Programs

    • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    • RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway,, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences Request Info »
  • Capella University

    Capella provides a flexible online learning environment designed for working adults who want to advance in their profession.

    Programs

    • DBA - Leadership
    • PhD - Information Technology General
    • MS - Social and Community Services
    • More...
    Location:
    Minneapolis: Capella Tower, Minneapolis MN 55402
    Capella University Request Info »
  • Fortis Institute

    At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

    * Programs vary by location

    * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

    Please call on  844-252-4552 to talk to a respresentative.

    Programs

    • Internet Marketing
    • Business Management - Accounting
    • Medical Billing and Coding Online
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Fortis Institute Request Info »
  • Penn Foster Schools

    Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

    Programs

    • HVACR Technician
    • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Electrical
    • Gunsmith
    • More...
    Location:
    Scranton: , Scranton PA 18515
    Penn Foster Schools Request Info »
  • Concordia University Online

    Work toward your degree online with Concordia University.

    Programs

    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Bible Literacy
    • Special Education (Middle Level/High School)
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Teacher Leadership
    • More...
    Location:
    Portland: 2811 NE Holman Street,, Portland OR 97211
    Concordia University Online Request Info »
  • New England College Online

    Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Earning Your Degree 100% Online

    Prepare for the competitive job market with an undergraduate degree from regionally accredited New England College. A private college rooted in a strong liberal arts foundation, NEC offers these undergraduate degrees 100% online:

    Programs

    • AS in Human Services
    • BA in Criminal Justice
    • BA in Psychology Clinical Psychology
    • More...
    Location:
    Henniker: 98 Bridge St, , Henniker NH 03242
    New England College Online Request Info »
  • University of Northwestern Ohio - Online

    University of Northwestern Ohio’s 100% Online Master of Business Administration

    The University of Northwestern Ohio offers an affordable, flexible and convenient online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

    Programs

    • Master of Business Administration

    Location: Online

    University of Northwestern Ohio - Online Request Info »
  • Regent University

    Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

    Programs

    • Master of Education in TESOL - Adult Education
    • Master of Theology in History of Christianity
    • Education Specialist in Leadership in Math Education
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Regent University Request Info »
  • Post University

    Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
     

    Programs

    • B.S. in Finance - Corporate Finance
    • B.S. in Management - Human Resource Management
    • B.S. in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
    • More...
    Location:
    Waterbury: 800 Country Club Rd., Waterbury CT 06723
    Post University Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.