In the year 2004, 4.3 million freshmen began their collegiate careers. How many, do you suppose, graduated in the customary four years? Ready for this? Only a quarter of that starting class graduated in 2008. Only just over a million students received a diploma from their college of choice. College is difficult. Economic times can change drastically over four years. Life happens. There are plenty of reasons that someone cannot graduate, but those numbers should not be dismissed. A lot can be learned about a school by looking at college graduation rates.
In doing research for the right college, you can find all sorts of data pertaining to college graduation rates. You can see specifically college athlete graduation rates, college graduation rates by race, or college graduation rates by state. But, the most important rates that you want to look for are those tied directly to your school, or schools, of choice. Let those be a deciding factor. If rates are too low, no matter the external reasoning, a college has something wrong with it when it loses students that much.
In 2009, the school with the highest four year graduation rate (meaning the students started in the fall of 2005), was Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. But another study says that, in 2009, Massachusetts had the highest graduation rate for a six year bachelors of 69.2 percent. And yet one more study finds that the best public college with the highest graduation rate is the University of Virginia.
It is clear that wherever you look, you are going to find all sorts of information about all sorts of different college rates. The most important thing is to know which data is most crucial to you and your collegiate decision. Do not get bogged down on numbers and facts that do not even pertain to you. Know what it is that you are looking for, and let that help you to decide.