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
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

    Programs

    • Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • South University, Online Programs

    As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

    Programs

    • Nurse Educator (PGC)
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
    • More...
    Location:
    Savannah: 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah GA 31406
    South University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • Ashford University

    Technology changes everything®

    You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

    Programs

    • Associate of Arts - Early Childhood.
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • Liberty University

    100% Online & No Standardized Testing

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd,, Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • Georgetown University

    About Georgetown University
    Georgetown University is a private, not-for-profit, accredited university located in Washington, DC. Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, Georgetown is America's oldest Catholic and Jesuit University. Today, Georgetown is a major international research university. It has nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly-ranked graduate programs.Georgetown University Online

    Programs

    • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Georgetown University Request Info »
  • Colorado State University-Global Campus

    Colorado State University-Global Campus

    Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

    Programs

    • MS - Data Analytics
    • Bachelors in Business Management
    • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
    • More...
    Location:
    Englewood: 7800 E Orchard Rd,, Englewood CO 80111
    Colorado State University-Global Campus Request Info »
  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University is a Catholic, liberal arts-based university serving people of all faiths.

    Programs

    • BA in Psychology - General Studies
    • Master of Science in Instructional Design
    • Master of Science in Psychology
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Saint Leo University Request Info »
  • Keiser University Graduate School

    Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

    Programs

    • Master in Business Administration - Health Services Administration
    • Accountancy with a concentration in General Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration, MBA - International Business
    • More...
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
    Keiser University Graduate School Request Info »
  • California Intercontinental University

    Advance your career with an online degree from California InterContinental University.

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology Emphasis in Network and Systems Security (BEITNSS)
    • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology in Project Management (BEITPM)
    • Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership (MBAHCML)
    • More...
    Location:
    Irvine: 17310 Red Hill Avenue, Suite 200, Irvine CA 92614
    California Intercontinental University Request Info »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • DHS - Advanced Program Evaluation & Data Analytics
    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • MS - School Counseling (CACREP-accredited)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella 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.

    ×
    We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.