In the United States, there are approximately 5,300 colleges and universities. These colleges and universities range from beauty schools to private Ivy League research universities like Harvard University. Combined, all of the colleges and universities are often referred to as “the American higher-education system.” Various educational institutions in the USA have launched satellite locations throughout the country. When determining the number of universities, it usually depends on how university branch campuses are gathered. It is common for this number to change over time in the higher education realm. Numerous colleges may either experience mergers and closures.
Best Colleges Ranking System
Education is similar to any industry because the educational sector will also inevitably experience firms openings, expanding, merging, and closing continually. The U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking, widely known as the Best College ranking system is commonly used in the USA. It is a ranking list based on data that the U.S. News & World Report retrieved. The Best College ranking system includes each educational institution that participates in an annual survey that every school receives. Additionally, these rankings are based on opinion surveys from faculties and administrators who do not belong to the schools.
To be included in the Best College rankings, it is required for each school to offer four-year undergraduate degree programs and regionally accredited. A college can’t be ranked if that college only offers associate degrees programs or have a student population of 200 students or less. Top national universities in the USA are Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, and Yale University. Top liberal arts colleges Williams College, Amherst College, Swarthmore College, Wellesley College, Bowdoin College, Carleton College, Middlebury College, and Pomona College.
Understanding Public College and Private Colleges
Out of the 5,300 institutions in the USA, there are 1,626 public colleges, 1,687 private nonprofit schools, and 985 for-profit schools. These schools are categorized into groups such as: two-year schools (community colleges and county colleges), four-year colleges and universities. At the moment, the number of colleges and universities are currently downsizing, especially in the for-profit area. Overall, the number of colleges in the USA is shrinking, particularly in the for-profit category. Most colleges that recently experienced closures are because those colleges are struggling financially. Multiple for-profits colleges had to close their institute down because the student enrollment numbers decreased substantially because of adverse publicity. Students who attended failed for-profit colleges struggled to receive financial aid to fund tuition, books, supplies, and dorms.
In recent years, along with for-profit educational institutions struggling with a ton of closures, so have many smaller liberal arts colleges. Out of all the private colleges in the USA, it is likely for small private colleges to experience closure. Private college with a student population of less than 1000 students to experience closure first. There are approximately 800 private colleges with an enrollment of fewer than 1000 students. Educational institutions that are this small mainly depends on their student revenues. Unfortunately, those institutions are more vulnerable because of their lack of other non-tuition funds that doesn’t flow into their schools.
There are various reasons why a college may undergo closures. College closures consist of a combination of various reasons. Reasons include the student population size, market location, recognition among the market, and whether the school’s brand can keep them afloat. Excluding the market shifts, it is important to understand that the number of schools that experienced this is relatively small in a given year. The student demographics can be a major reason too. With the decreasing number of the birthrate in the USA results in colleges and universities competing for less undergraduate students. Unfortunately, the number of all the institutions are going down, not up.
How to find the right college that fits you?
Collectively, with over 5,000 colleges and universities and additionally branch campuses to select, a student now has an endless amount of options. Students can choose to receive an education from a trade school, a small liberal arts college, or even a research-oriented university. Also, it is important to keep in mind that more colleges and universities are continually creating and expanding online degree programs. This amount of options may be overwhelming and stressful for students, so students need to trim those option down.
It is crucial for students to develop criteria so they can determine what matters most for them. Additionally, they should find a college that will best align with their academic priorities and criteria. In the end, ultimately, it depends on the student wants and is important to them. What may be relevant to students may vary among location, academic programs, and tuition, among other factors. For a student to get a feel of a university or a college, they have to familiarize themselves with the school’s campus and degree programs. Also, they should talk to professors during their campus visit, speak to students, staff, and even alumni if possible. It is all about observing and consuming the school.
College Search Guide for International Students
Students who live in the USA will have easy access to participate in multiple college campus tours. However, the same can’t be said for international applicants. It could be an even more overwhelming process for an international student when choosing a school in another country. International applicants resolve that problem by using free resources like EducationUSA. EducationUSA provides a network of various advising center created to assist and provide resources for potential international students. EducationUSA is supported by the U.S. Department of State and paid consultants.
International students usually start their college search by merely researching college rankings. If a college is not listed on the rankings list than international students will not consider it. College ranking systems matters! Similar to students in the USA, an international applicant may show interest in a school-based on the school’s undergraduate degree program. Lastly, it is essential for a student’s family also to invest in schools that see are thriving.