College Rankings and Surveys
US News and World Retort
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US News and World Retort    
By Bill Goldstein, J.D.
General Counsel and Dean of Global Expansion, Maharishi University of Management

NOTE: The following is a comment on the relevance of college rankings for a student who is looking for a college to attend

MUM and College Rankings

It is important for students to feel confident that the college they are selecting meets their needs. If you are a student, you probably know what you want best, but most people are concerned about the quality of teaching, whether other students like the school, whether you can perform successfully, and the long term likelihood that studying at the college of your choice will prepare you for a successful career. Only you will know which what school is best for you and your priorities. One college definitely does not fit all..

Evaluating a College

How can you evaluate the many college choices available? The best choice is do your own research, review the University’s website, talk to admission officers, contact alumni and current students and do a campus visit. Social media may also provide valuable information, though it is probably not as reliable. College rankings by magazines and other services are also often used today to play a role in the college decision. However, as convenient as they look, it is often unclear what the criteria for the rankings are and whether they are at all valid.

Magazine Rankings

One magazine, US News and World Report, which closed down its printed publications in 2009, continues, however, to separately promote its rankings. A consensus, however, has developed among many experts in the education sector that the US News ranking does not provide a good basis on which to base your college decision.

These experts include commentators in some of the most respected popular American publications, such as the New York Times and New Yorker magazine. They have concluded that not only are the rankings of US News more or less worthless, they are dangerously misleading and based on criteria that have nothing to do with the factors that are likely most relevant to you in choosing your college. Joe Nocera, writing for the NY Times, characterizes the US News rankings as silly and pernicious, not prepared by experts in education, and largely measuring school’s value based on how much a college raises and spends, not on how effectively it educates students. 

Malcolm Gladwell, the world renowned author ( e.g., Outliers, Tipping Point, Blink) undertakes a more extensive and scientific critique of US News and gives many more reasons to entirely disregard their rankings in another revealing article in the New Yorker

Gladwell’s article notes that the predominant US News measures deal with a college’s financial resources, much of which are based on the size of its endowment, faculty salaries, all the large new buildings it has, or the expensive high tech research itconducts . He also notes the oddity of the most highly weighted factor: a school’s reputation among other college presidents and senior university administrators (22%), since there is no evidence that those parties really know anything significant about any University other their own. 

Remarkably, Gladwell notes, data on the students who actually attend the university are totally lacking: student success, satisfaction, learning and placement in jobs are not considered important. In Gladwell’s interview with the lead editor at US News, the editor conceded that they are not social scientists and the rankings do not actually measure educational outcomes.

Nor do they in any way measure or take into account one other common sense criterion for a college education: its value, cost or cost effectiveness, that is, the ability of that college’s education to pay for itself. This is currently the most important measure in higher education. President Obama himself is now pressing for a “report card” from Universities that shows their cost effectiveness.

We encourage you to be very careful when looking at such rankings, therefore, for they often are unscientific, or based on irrelevant or poorly thought out and unknown criteria that have little to do with the reasons you are selecting a college.

MUM’s Ranking

So what is important to you in a University education and how does MUM rank in those areas?

Below we list some of the areas we find of greatest concern to students and parents in selecting a college. We hope that our list has some points that are interest to you. If you wish information on other areas please do not hesitate to contact one of our admissions counselors, or better yet, come visit our campus.

Student Satisfaction

Student satisfaction is one very clear way of measuring the job that a college is doing for its students. National surveys provide data which show this for recent alumni. The data shows that MUM alumni are on average over 30% more satisfied with their educational experience at MUM than the national average.

Alumni Survey Results

In 2008, Maharishi University of Management participated in the American College Testing (ACT) Alumni Outcomes Survey. The results are compared below with the normative alumni data from over 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities participating in ACT’s survey.

If you could begin again, would you attend this college?
Alumni responding: “DEFINITELY YES”
  • 72% MUM Alumni
  • 47% National norm — US college alumni
Overall, how would you rate this college?
Alumni responding: “EXCELLENT”
  • 71% MUM Alumni
  • 49% National norm — US college alumni
How well did this college prepare you for your current job?
Alumni responding: “EXCEPTIONALLY WELL”
  • 47% MUM Alumni
  • 18% National norm — US college alumni
Were you satisfied with the overall quality of instruction?
Alumni responding: “VERY SATISFIED”
  • 66% MUM Alumni
  • 39% National norm — US college alumni
Rate the opportunities for student/faculty interaction.
Alumni responding: “VERY POSITIVE”
  • 72% MUM Alumni
  • 38% National norm — US college alumni
Do you agree or disagree that the general education courses were a valuable component of your education?
Alumni responding: “STRONGLY AGREE”
  • 67% MUM Alumni
  • 22% National norm — US college alumni
Do you agree or disagree that overall, the college had an intellectually stimulating atmosphere?
Alumni responding: “STRONGLY AGREE”
  • 61% MUM Alumni
  • 23% National norm — US college alumni
Rate the sense of individual belonging on this campus.
Alumni responding: “VERY POSITIVE”
  • 76% MUM Alumni
  • 26% National norm — US college alumni
How much impact did this college have in developing original ideas and/or products?
Alumni responding: “MAJOR IMPACT”
  • 62% MUM Alumni
  • 23% National norm — US college alumni
How much impact did this college have in understanding the interaction of human beings and the environment?
Alumni responding: “MAJOR IMPACT”
  • 63% MUM Alumni
  • 21% National norm — US college alumni
Job Placement Rate

You may also be legitimately concerned that your education at MUM will enable you to quickly get a good job in your chosen field.

MUM’s placement rate was 90% for the class of 2009, based on a survey of the class nine to twelve months after graduating. The placement rate includes working for a company or organization, or attending graduate school or other advanced training.

The results were about the same as MUM’s previous year — the class of 2008 had a 95% placement rate nine to twelve months after graduating.

Much higher than national average

A national survey of four-year colleges found that 67% of U.S. job-seeking graduates had a job within six months of graduating. By comparison, 90% of MUM’s class of 2009 who were seeking employment were hired or self-employed within nine to twelve months of graduating.

Enduring Benefits

One area where we are unique is that our Consciousness-Based Education method enhances the baseline of your own experience, making you more alert, more conscious, more able to learn and process new information, and to function in a more efficient, cooperative and creative way in the classroom and in the workplace. That is the sort of thing that you will always have, that won’t become obsolete when technologies and knowledge evolve. That growth, and the ongoing application of what you have learned, gives you an edge throughout your life even when your jobs or circumstances inevitably change.

That sounds nice, we know, and yet there is research behind those claims. A widely used measure of overall self-development, the Washington University Sentence Completion Test of Ego Development, was given to our senior students and to senior students at three other colleges. Typically only 1–3% of the population score at the two highest levels of this test ("autonomous" and "integrated"), and the results do not normally change after the age of 18, before students arrive at college. Ten years later, well into their careers, these same students were given the test again.

Pretest — Of seniors at the control universities, 1-3% scored at the two highest levels — typical of the national adult population. Among MUM seniors, 9% scored at the two highest levels, which is high — they had been meditating an average of 4 years at that point.

Posttest — Ten years later, among the alumni from the control universities, 1–3%, as expected, scored at the two highest levels. Among MUM seniors, the number scoring at the autonomous and integrated levels had risen to 38% — unprecedented in the scientific literature.

This shows that the profound personal growth students gain with Consciousness-Based education serves them long after they graduate. That could be you.

Education Value

MUM’s standard undergraduate tuition is $26,000, well under the national average of $42,224 for private colleges in America. With the level of satisfaction, placement rates and average earnings after graduation exceeding the national average by over 30%, you might consider MUM the best value in American higher education.

You get a lot more about of MUM than you can ever pay for. But that’s just what you expect a school to do: prepare you to do more than you ever imagined. And then your success is our best survey.
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