I frequently have parents and students ask some version of, "What's the best college?" Just yesterday a mom in my office stated that her philosophy is that her son should go to "the best college that he can get into." The problem is that we would have to define "best". "Best" according to what standards or whose opinion?
I was fascinated by this recent analysis by the Portland Business Journal which rated the colleges in
Oregon according to the
Return On Investment (ROI) of tuition versus salary. While this is not a
criteria that I have often seen, in today's economy it is certainly not an
unreasonable metric. In this ranking system, Oregon Institute of Technology
came out #1. Now I know a lot of Oregonians who would argue strongly that OIT
is not the best college in our state, and therefore, this analysis must be
My point is simply that the answer to, "What's the best college?" is "It depends." By my standards, the best college for any individual student is a place that is an academic, social, emotional. spiritual, cultural and financial match; a place where the student can thrive, develop ways of thinking and skills that will be useful no matter what route her life takes, and graduate with a minimum amount of debt.