Accounting for "The Alumni Factor" In College Rankings

Since its debut on September 10th, The Alumni Factor has been attracting a lot of attention. Whether through nationwide coverage in the Wall Street Journal, industry specific insights from The Chronicle of Higher Ed or a local tech perspective from BostInno, word is quickly spreading on how this alumni-centric ranking platform is disrupting traditional college ranking sources such as The Princeton Review, US News & World Report and Forbes Magazine.

The Alumni Factor takes the premise that college rankings should focus on alumni feedback. As stated in the guide’s introduction, The Alumni Factor wants to “piece the bubble of reputation to understand how graduates actually perform post-graduation–and hear what they have to say about the job their college did to prepare them.” Their rankings of 177 schools are the result of a survey of more than 42,000 college graduates on 15 different attributes from “preparation for career success” to “overall happiness of graduates.” As tuition costs and the demand for a strong alumni network continues to grow, the need to evaluate ROI post-diploma becomes a crucial factor in the college decision making process.

While recently connecting with Monica McGurk, CEO of The Alumni Factor, about what inspired the platform, she said that “it was clear from talking to parents and prospective students that they did not have the information about outcomes that they needed to make a definite choice.” Monica also mentioned that “they were quite savvy about the marketing messages they received from schools, and that they agreed that the best source of information is alumni — whom they often found difficult to reach.”

One of the features of The Alumni Factor that stands out is “Match2U,” which enables users to choose what attributes are most important to them while searching the rankings.

These are attributes, as Monica explained, that “were chosen based on prior sociological research on what students want to get out of their college experience, and through the due diligence of holding numerous focus groups, surveys and interviews.”

The “advanced search” experience also allows for prospective students, parents, and counselors to pick by geographical region and cost, making the ranking even more dynamic.

Another notable characteristic of The Alumni Factor is that it appeals to alumni, as well. Through the platform, “alumni have a direct opportunity to interact with prospective students to share their experience of what they got out of their education,” Monica remarked, “making it a low pain, low cost way for people who are passionate to give back to their schools.”

We believe that when alumni give back content to their alma maters it is a win-win for all.

A special thanks to Monica for her time and insights. To learn more about The Alumni Factor check out their website.

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