Bradley will once again be mentioned in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, a college guidebook owned by The Wall Street Journal that is published every other year.
The book contains a profile of each selected college that are not ranked, but simply listed in alphabetical order.
“It’s a very select guide, because many guides really list most or all of colleges [and] this one only lists 230 colleges,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Alan Galsky.
He said he estimates there to be “well over 4,000 colleges and universities and certainly 2,300 or so really good colleges,” while the book only lists the top-10 percent of those schools.
Barron’s Best Buys in Education selects schools on several criteria, including cost, value, graduation and retention rates and student satisfaction.
Galsky said the publisher first looks at the price of the institution, along with prior student feedback, and then will determine whether a school is a candidate.
A major factor that Galsky said is taken into consideration before the book is published is a detailed questionnaire that an administrator fills out.
“What really makes this much different than a lot of the other college guides is the [administrative] questionnaire … and the student questionnaire,” he said.
The student questionnaire is distributed to a small sample of students that almost always consists of student leaders.
Galsky said student leaders are preferred because they best know how to answer the questions due to their extensive knowledge and experience at Bradley and they also represent a cross section of all students.
When students complete the questionnaire they send it directly to the company, without giving the university any insight on their answers.
“We never know, that’s what makes it objective,” Galsky said.
The guide uses the information gathered from students to create a summary of the particular college or university.
Although Galsky said being mentioned in the guidebook “is really a compliment and a credit for us,” he said he doesn’t believe the guidebook would be strong enough to influence an individual to come to Bradley or any other university.
“We find that college guides are a factor, but not a major factor in the college decision process,” he said.
Galsky also said he thinks being mentioned in Barron’s Best Buys in Education will help the university in two areas in regards to future students.
“One would be if a student were considering Bradley and then went to this guide as a source, or if a student was open-minded on where they wanted to go and went to this guide first,” he said.
Galsky said a key reason why guidebooks are not as convincing is because of the Internet.
“Twenty years ago when there was no Internet, college guides were much more important sources, but now we can go to a computer and get as much information as we want on any university,” he said. “These books are certainly not what they used to be.”
Even though college guides are no match to the Internet, Galsky said Bradley likes to be included in any guidebooks, especially in selective college guides such as Barron’s Best Buys in Education.
“Those are important to be in because they are more than information guides, they are based on some criteria of selectivity,” he said.