When you're doing a college search, a school's graduation rates are something to think about. Although this information can be useful when you're thinking about submitting a college application, there's more to them than meets the eye, according to a recent article in The Washington Post.
Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, said that the way schools collect data about graduating students is flawed, and should not be the only thing students look at when choosing a school. Technically, under the present guidelines used by the Department of Education, students who transfer to other schools count as dropouts.
"Graduation rate data is not the same as degree attainment, which is the real measure of how many students actually earn degrees," McGuire wrote. "Many more students earn degrees than the graduation rate indicates. Why? Because the graduation rate does not include transfer students, or [individuals] who have elongated their degree timetable by stopping out for work and family obligations."
Despite these claims, many schools are trying to improve their graduation rates. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois' Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon says that community colleges across the state must improve the number of students graduating successfully.
Don't forget to look at all aspects of a prospective school when you're filling out college applications, not just graduation rates.