You can enjoy success after college. Just pick the right college for you!
With Ididio’s help, you can find the college or university that meets your needs and has the track record to lead you to success.
Students should only invest their time and money into colleges and universities
with a demonstrated track record of student success, and of course elite
colleges are going to have a strong success rate. In the chart below
we’ve created a comparison between schools with high admissions bars and
good outcomes for their alumni. You will see a fat blue curve
connecting the highly selective colleges and universities to those
with the best student successes. Those most selective institutions started with
the highest-performing high school graduates in the country, so why wouldn’t they succeed?
Some schools with lower selectivity are doing an outstanding job in educating
less-prepared high school graduates.
If you were at the top of your high school class and can gain admittance to and
afford one of those elite universities, go for it, but be careful. Not all
highly selective schools have a winning track record, and
more importantly, some schools with lower selectivity
are doing an outstanding job in educating
less-prepared high school graduates. Look for the blue and green curves moving
from some of the lower selectivity boxes on the left side of the chart
to the top outcomes boxes in the middle of the chart.
Exploration: Selectivity, Good Alumni Outcomes, and Institutional Control
We gave the best outcomes ratings to colleges and universities that were in the top 10%
for both graduation rates and federal loan repayments, and trickled down to the
lowest ratings for those in the lowest 10% in both categories. You can read the
details in the Methodology section below. You can discover those colleges and universities that balance
lower selectivity with terrific alumni outcomes using the table that follows. To
find the colleges that meet you where you are, use the pull-down menus
below to experiment with various selectivity and outcomes levels, or limit your list
to a region or collection of schools that interests you.
Explore school selectivity and alumni outcomes
Limit your list of colleges and universities
Show only schools in this collection
Show schools with this selectivity
Show schools with this outcomes rating
Restrict the schools to these states
Colleges and universities by selectivity and alumni outcomes
You’ll find one other element in the data we’ve presented here: institutional
control. If you study our sankey chart at the top of the page, you’ll see that fewer
than 10% of institutions with for-profit control have fair or better alumni
outcomes. There are a handful of for-profit institutions with good performance,
but we shy away from for-profit schools as a rule.
In addition to this summary table, Ididio’s school explorer provides
you with many ways to discover potential colleges and universities. While
each college’s selectivity and alumni successes are really important, to
find your best fit you need information about the majors and activities offered, classroom
environment, and student body composition. We hope you will use
all of our data to find the best
college or university for your future success.
We only show colleges and universities that offer primarily bachelor’s degrees
at the undergraduate level and that
report a seven-year federal loan repayment rate and an
eight-year graduation rate.
In creating the selectivity rating, we calculated the percentile ranking in
comparison to all schools for the following metrics describing the most
recently reported entering class: high school GPA, 75th percentile of the
combined ERW and math SAT scores, 75th percentile of the composite ACT score. We
averaged any of the percentiles available (some schools do not report on all
of these measures) to measure student standing, and averaged the student standing
with the percentage of rejected applications to arrive at
a selectivity rating. Colleges without selectivity data or with open
enrollment are assigned a selectivity rating of 0, and the lowest 10% in
our diagram is a bit fat because more than 10% of schools are in this category.
Our alumni outcomes rating was based on the eight-year graduation
rate and the seven-year federal loan repayment rate. If
you experiment with differing measures of quality using our school
explorer you will find similar results. It turns out that loan default and repayment
rates correlate very closely with earnings data for all alumni -- not just
those who needed federal student aid. However, it takes
many years to accumulate reliable earnings data, while loan repayment and default
rates can be measured more quickly.
The eight-year graduation rate is taken from the outcomes data reported in
the 2018 IPEDS data, and applies to all students seeking an undergraduate degree.
Although standings could change for individual schools, the overall trend we
see here is preserved if we only consider first-time full-time freshmen and/or
six- or four-year graduation rates.
The federal loan repayment rate is from College Scorecard. This and the
three-year default rate are available in our school explorer. The three-year
rate is more sensitive to recent changes in quality and would result in a
For each of the two outcomes measures above, we labeled each school as
performing in the top 10%, top 50% (excluding the top 10%), lower 50%, or
lower 10%. Our outcome ratings were defined as
Best: Top 10% in both measures
Good: Top 50% in both measures, and top 10% in one measure -- this is still
Fair: Top 50% in both measures. Note that this guarantees only a 57% graduation
rate and a 74% repayment rate, meaning that for the schools near this boundary
almost half of their students fail to graduate and a quarter have made no
progress in repaying their debt after 7 years. This is not a tough standard!
Worrisome: In the lower half of performance for at least one standard.
Poor: In the lowest 10% of performance for both standards.