My daughter is thinking of applying to St. Mary’s as she wishes to study nursing and her brother attends Notre dame. The one thing that concerns me is the utter lack of any discussions about St. Mary’s on College Confidential, why is that?
Lots of schools are not discussed on this forum where the discussion tends to be obsessive on the “top 20” by whatever ranking you wish to go by.
You have raised a very excellent point! You have found the tip of the iceberg!
With the exception of the Ivies, MIT, Stanford (maybe Duke and Cal Tech) and those with large football teams schools tend to be regional in their reputations. It is my experience and belief that many of the best ideas and experiences in education are actually occurring in the smaller colleges and universities. Many of the most entrepreneurial educational experiences are pioneered by these smaller schools which do not enjoy the massive PR machines generated by the large graduate schools and high powered, national football teams.
Brand names in all products, including education are there for many reasons. Some reasons are sound and others not so sound. Unfortunately, a brand name does not necessarily mean you bought a better butter. Public awareness counts and causes the consuming public to believe that something better is in the box and in the case of education the assumptions include job placement, graduate school placement, monetary success, parental bragging rights, etc. Consumers rarely question the recognized box, but do question the one they never heard of from their social grouping.
We need college advisors to be available and better informed of the true range of incredible offerings in the American educational system.
I used to visit secondary schools and found a lot of public school systems where the guidance personnel were so overworked that they had no idea about the rapid changes concurring in the educational and professional world. One guidance councilor with a PhD was painfully aware of the problem, but she was responsible for advising all of the students in one entire Delaware county.
In another “magnet” school in Maryland, my briefcase was stolen out of the main office as I stood next to a counter and spoke with a secretary. When I could not find the briefcase which had been next to me, the secretary set off an alarm, a policeman showed up in a matter of minutes and the needed materials were recovered within ten minutes. It was like a jailbreak and this was a “selective” magnet school. Later the same week I was at The HILL School in Pottstown, PA and the college advisor knew all of the operational details needed to advise their well-healed students Boarding tuition is over $55,000 per year at these secondary schools.
Resources count! If our secondary schools do not have the resources we all pay. We need these valuable resources, we need our young people. That is why economist describe education as a “merit” good that all of society should have a hand in. We really need to support and optimize this system.
If you believe St. Mary’s is a truly fine school, do your homework! Check it out. Collect the consumer information which is relevant to you and to your daughter. Do not be intimidated because somebody in California or Florida might not know about it. Do not collect your evidence from the opinions of people who don’t even know the school. If you are concerned about graduate or job placement ask these questions directly to the school. Are you looking for cocktail party bragging rights or are you looking for the best education for your daughter?