Forbes Top Colleges Rankings Penalizes Northeastern Co-op Program
By Sam Coren
The following editorial reflects the opinions of the author and not all of those at StudentAdvisor.com.
As StudentAdvisor's Content Manager I have my eyes glued to everything happening in the world of college news. So when I got word of Forbes's latest Top 200 Colleges list I couldn't help but to go find out which schools they consider to be the best in America. At the top of their list for the second year in a row was Williams College, a small private liberal arts school in western Massachusetts. Despite its steep sticker price, Forbes notes that Williams boasts one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the country, a slew of Rhodes and Marshall scholarship recipients and an alumni base of high-earning professionals.
While it's hard for anyone to disagree that this college is an exceptional place to earn a your degree (just check out our student reviews on Williams College if you're skeptical), I couldn't help but be utterly disappointed with where my alma mater ranked on the Forbes list. But it wasn't a feeling of buyers' remorse that came over me when I saw Northeastern University sitting in the #534 spot. It was a feeling of complete disgust that their ranking methodology penalized Northeastern for having a world-renowned co-op program.
If you're not familiar with what a co-op program is, it's an official internship program organized by the school so that students can alternate periods of full-time work experience with a traditional classroom education. Because Northeastern students can elect to take up to 3 of these 6-month internships during their college career, the majority of Huskies graduate in five years, not four.
Since someone at Forbes decided that 17.5% of a school's ranking should be based on four-year graduation rates, Northeastern tanked on the list. This is a crushing blow for a school that has transformed itself from a little known commuter school for engineers into a powerhouse research institution that's shifting the higher education paradigm.
So if you're the parent of a college-bound student who's now second guessing Northeastern's worth based off this new list I encourage you to reconsider your opinion. Do yourself a favor and check out the Northeastern reviews on StudentAdvisor from real students and learn more about how the school's co-op program has changed our lives.
And as for Forbes? We're Northeastern. We're no stranger to being the underdog.