In the annual U.S. News and World Report college and university rankings, Minnesota State came in at No. 67 among Midwest Regional Universities based on tuition, enrollment and acceptance rate.
But while rankings may still get a lot of attention, they may not be as critical to choosing an academic institution as they used to be.
Lynn Akey, Vice President for Student Success, Analytics and Integrated Planning said the impact of the U.S. News and World Report rankings has changed.
“When we might have looked back 10-20 years ago, I think that students who were looking for a college or university might have gone to that as a really important source of information and thinking about the type of institution or might have taken that to be some sort of proxy or signal of the level of quality of an institution,” said Akey.
She believes that today students are able to find more information about institutions to choose from and should consider whether institutional goals and strategies are well aligned with what students are searching for.
“The result of ranking is not necessarily aligned with what a student might know is important in trying to select the institution that might have the best academic program that they’re interested, or student experience that they are interested in, or in the things that are important for student’s success,” said Akey.
Akey said MSU is focused on advancing the academic and social experience of students at the institution. For MSU it is important to provide students with the ability to be successful in a variety of ways, including academics, future careers and engaging in campus community. MSU established the Division of Student Success in March 2019.
“Within that division, we focus on four core aspects of student success,” said Akey. One is making sure that we’re establishing meaningful connections with our students and that our students are establishing meaningful connections with the university. And also that in our interactions with students, we do our best to demonstrate care for the individual that we’re working with.”
The university is also focused on students’ basic needs, which MSU supports through a variety of resources, such as the Counseling Center and Maverick Food Pantry.
“Recognizing more of our students’ basic needs and taking a more active role in ensuring that the support is there, that those resources are available and that our faculty and staff are knowledgeable about those resources, so they can help students connect to those resources, is important for us,” said Akey.
Moreover, the university provides emergency grants and completion grant programs for those who need additional help during their academic journey.
Akey said she encourages prospective students to be critical consumers and choose the university that fits their personal goals and pays attention to what is crucial for successful degree completion.
“I always would encourage students, family members and others of the community to be critical consumers of information,” said Akey. “Ratings and rankings are one entity’s perspective based on what they’ve chosen to focus on, may or may not align with what you might believe is important, so be that critical consumer.”
Write to Amalia Sharaf at firstname.lastname@example.org