O's Notes

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (Photo courtesy of <a href="https://flic.kr/p/fnU3CW" target="_blank">Josue Mendivil on Flickr</a>. Edited by O's List under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode" target="_blank">the Creative Commons License</a>.)

The graduation rate is one of the most important metrics to look at while evaluating or comparing colleges. Numerically, the graduation rate gives you an idea of the percentage of the full time freshmen that graduate with an undergraduate degree in a specified number of years. Usually the college graduation rate is reported in terms of 4 years, 6 years and 8 years.

The graduation rate of a college depends on many factors, however it can give you a sense of how long it can take a student to graduate with a degree from a particular college. If you see a college with 4 year graduation rate of 40% and a 6 year graduation rate of 75%, then there is a higher probability of a student spending more than 4 years to graduate with a degree as compared to a college with a 4 year graduation rate of 75% and a 6 year graduation rate of 92%.

3 Things to Look at While Evaluating Colleges

Colleges have beautiful websites, glossy handouts that all tell the same story: an enriching student life, cutting edge research, beautiful campus, life beyond academics, all the clubs, sports, activities, music, … the list is endless. It is easy to get caught up in the pictures and the story telling. Even easier to get caught in the “where to apply” cycle.