Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Choosing the Right College

If you are a student trying to decide which colleges to apply to, you might find it useful to take a look at a book called Choosing the Right College, published by the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Delaware, known as ISI. It provides in-depth research on 140 Ivy League institutions, state universities, liberal arts colleges, Christian and ex-Christian schools, military academies, and small schools devoted to the Great Books.

The well-known U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges mixes useful statistics with those of dubious value. But the ISI guide takes a decidedly different approach. The organizing principle behind the academic evaluation of each school is how well it provides students with a classic liberal arts education—that is, a chance to learn about Western civilization and become a well-rounded, responsible citizen of a free society. This book also describes the rigor of academic departments, names of the best professors, courses that ought to be avoided, the percentage of classes taught by graduate students. Readers get the inside scoop from current students, professors and graduates on whether the school demands so-called politically correct speech.

The book also gives the truth about student life outside of class, like whether a school is known for its party atmosphere or “hookup” culture; the prevalence of alcohol and drugs; whether dorm floors and even dorm rooms are coed; and the frequency of crimes on campus. Student clubs, athletics programs, Greek life, and cultural opportunities in the surrounding communities are also given attention.

The appendix provides a useful list of questions to ask during campus visits that will prove useful for evaluating schools not listed in the guide.

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