Jacob Garber: Forget about U.S. News

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Jacob Garber

Correction appended

As college students, we are all investments.

It can be dehumanizing to think of a student like a share of stock, but it is largely the truth. We spend four years and thousands of dollars on our undergraduate education, and it is only responsible to consider what we’ll get in return.

And GW’s return is lacking.

The University landed at No. 91 on the 2012 Bloomberg Businessweek rankings of undergraduate universities by return on investment, which came out in April 2012. For a school that touts itself as offering students real-world experience, GW is ranked shockingly low. Students and administrators alike should see this as a red flag.

Forget about US News & World Report. These are the rankings that matter.

Return on investment is a reflection of our school as a whole – it includes tuition and graduation rates, as well as salary. Our current ranking is nowhere near where it should be. It takes into account the average cost of attending a given university, the average time it takes to graduate and post-graduation earnings over a 30-year period.

These rankings are also a good measure of the Career Center’s success. GW launched an overhaul of the University-wide Career Center in fall 2012.

Assistant Provost for University Career Services Rachel Brown, who assumed the role in February, told The Hatchet in considering return on investment, it is critical to look at the details. And she has a point: Naturally, students finding jobs at Fortune 500 companies or startups will have higher salaries than those who find work in the public sector or at nongovernmental organizations, which happen to be particularly popular professions for GW graduates.

But as students who will be entering the workforce in the near future, we should consider GW’s return on investment a travesty.

The Hatchet also reported in February that as part of the career overhaul, the center will begin to reach out to employers who are not already connected with GW.

It’s puzzling, and alarming given GW’s return on investment score, that the center is only now reaching out to employers in this manner. Connecting with companies is, after all, its primary function, and these relationships are critical to building a future for the student body.

So forget about our removal from U.S. News “Best Colleges” list – we have a new rank to worry about. And this one affects us long after we leave GW.

Jacob Garber, a sophomore majoring in English and creative writing, is a Hatchet columnist.

This column was updated April 11, 2013 to reflect the following:
The column incorrectly referred to Fortune 500 companies as Forbes 500 companies. We regret this error.

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