The ranking that matters most

Friday, March 31, 2023

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

Frank Bruni is a professor of journalism and public policy at Duke University and the author of Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, a book about the college admissions process, quality of education and universities’ value proposition. Mr. Bruni is also a contributing writer at The New York Times who has had an accomplished career as a journalist.

So why am I telling you about Frank Bruni? You see, earlier this week, he wrote an essay in the Times, “There’s Only One College Rankings List That Matters,” about the college admissions process where he discusses long-standing concerns with the way many collegebound seniors and their families decide which college they should attend. The process, he contends, has become a type of “scholastic version of ‘The Hunger Games.’”

I would not go that far. But I do agree with Mr. Bruni that many institutions focus more on their quest for prestige than on what students and their families really want: universities that provide excellent education at a reasonable price. Then, in the process of their undergraduate experience, educate them to become the highest earners on par with graduates of the most “prestigious” universities.

If I were to tell you that, in this regard, Missouri S&T is more highly ranked than many Ivy League universities, would you believe me?

As most of us know, the Ivies occupy the upper echelons of many college rankings. But, as Bruni explains in his essay, there’s a new tool from The New York Times that could help prospective students and their families determine the best choice for their education, and it may not always be one of the prestigious institutions that often come to mind.

As you read Bruni’s article, you will come to a carefully analyzed table showing the names and logos of the top 10 universities for students and their families seeking a world-class education, resulting in the highest earnings, at a remarkably reasonable cost. You can imagine my delight when I saw Missouri University of Science and Technology ranked in top 10 with Princeton, MIT, Stanford and sandwiched between Harvard and Caltech! The NYT article states: “Among these high-value institutions are public research universities like Missouri University of Science and Technology, where the average in-state student pays less than $15,000 a year.”

As you scroll further along the article, you will see S&T included in yet another top-10 list. This one ranks institutions by after-graduation earningsaffordability and access, with each university listed admitting at least 25% of its applicants. This time Missouri S&T is ranked second in the nation! While some of the “prestigious” universities continue to take pride in their “highly rejective” approach, here at S&T we are committed to admitting as many qualified students as possible, even though we are receiving a record number of applications. We embrace the spirit of our land-grant heritage and strive to keep an S&T education accessible and affordable. We take pride in our 150-plus-year history of producing career-ready engineers and scientists who have consistently provided solutions to the most challenging technical and scientific problems of their time.

So, what is the story behind the NY Times story? Those of us who know S&T are not too surprised by how well we rate when considering the value of what we offer and the economic outcomes. After all, our long-standing reputation of outstanding return on investment has been known to generations of S&T graduates and companies that employ them. We are ranked first in Missouri and seventh nationally for average starting salary ($72,600), ranked third in the nation for career placement services, and placed by Money magazine in the top five for engineering and 30th overall among public universities. The companies that recruit our students also know about the quality of an S&T education. Our career fairs break records year after year. Simply put, we are proud of our culture of value creation.

We are grateful to The New York Times for offering this online tool as a service to families who can become overwhelmed by the deluge of marketing materials that colleges and universities send to today’s high school students. As the father of a high school junior who receives dozens of mailers each week, I know how overwhelming the process can be.

Navigating the college enrollment process should not be a burdensome chore, but rather an exciting beginning of a new enabling journey that will facilitate growth and innovative thinking. And here at S&T, for over 150 years we have helped each other on the journey of continuous growth and progress. Indeed, this is the story behind the inspiring NY Times story.



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116

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