ICQ 2003/4
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IC Tops Survey of High School Students

College-bound high school students surveyed by a national market research firm have placed Ithaca College at the top of their rankings. The students rated Ithaca as number one in quality and as the most popular institution among regional colleges and universities in the north.

Conducted by Carnegie Communications, a firm that works almost exclusively with educational institutions, the independent survey was designed to determine whether the tools used by popular publications to assess the quality of colleges and universities correspond with the factors students themselves use to evaluate quality.

Rank Comparisons—North
School Carnegie U.S. News Diff Pop
Ithaca College (NY) 1 7 6 1
Villanova University (PA) 2 1 -1 3
Rutgers University—Camden (NJ) 3 31 28 2
Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) 4 7 3 6
Loyola College in Maryland 5 3 -2 9
Emerson College (MA) 6 18 12 7
Providence College (RI) 7 2 -5 11
SUNY Coll. of Arts & Science—Geneseo (NY) 8 10 3 5
Quinnipiac University (CT) 9 12 3 4
La Salle University (PA) 10 20 10 8
College of Notre Dame of Maryland 11 31 20 20
Bentley College (MA) 12 9 -3 20
Mount St. Mary’s College (MD) 13 26 13  
Regional college and university rankings from Carnegie Communications Project Connect report

A diverse group of nearly 4,000 college-bound high school students from across the United States participated in Project Connect, an annual study conducted by Carnegie Communications on a variety of topics related to the marketing of higher education. Respondents completed a comprehensive online survey containing questions about the institutional attributes they most value, the national and regional institutions they perceive to be the highest in quality, and their own individual application plans.

While Ithaca College placed well in the 2004 edition of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News and World Report -- ranking seventh among regional colleges and universities in the north -- the results of the Carnegie study are even more impressive. Among the high school students who participated in the survey who live in the north, Ithaca College was perceived to have the highest quality and was the institution to which the most students intended to apply for admission.

"The U.S. News rankings rely on a series of characteristics that don't necessarily correspond with what college-bound high school students think are the most important measures of quality," says Elizabeth Scarborough, vice president of strategic marketing services at Carnegie Communications.

The surveyed students placed student-to-faculty ratio as the best indicator of a college's quality, while U.S. News and World Report counts that factor as only 1 percent of an institution's ranking score. And though the magazine places the greatest weight for its rankings on peer assessment of academic excellence -- the opinions of college presidents, deans, and provosts about colleges other than their own -- the Carnegie participants rated the average SAT/ACT scores of enrolling students, the proportion of faculty who are full-time teachers, and the four-year graduation rate as equally important. U.S. News weighs peer assessment greater than all three of those factors added together.

"Unlike the U.S. News rankings, which are based on a series of variables the magazine decides are important to measure, Project Connect sought the opinions of those who are actually preparing to go to college," says Scarborough.

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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 30 April, 2004