Monday, March 30, 2009

What is a "good" school?

So many international students want me to tell them whether or not a school is "good." Very often, I will recommend a school, and the student asks me, "But is that a good school?" Well, I wouldn't recommend it if it weren't good, would I? But I think what students really want to know is, "Will people in my country recognize the name of that school when I return to look for a job?" For that answer, you will have to ask employers in your country, since I am not from your country and do not know which schools they may or may not be familiar with here in the U.S. I can, however, give you some information that might help you decide for yourself whether or not a school you are considering attending is "good."

First of all, you should consider whether or not the institution is regionally accredited. DVC, all CSU's and UC's, and most private institutions in California are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Every region in the U.S. has a regional accrediting commission that examines schools to determine whether or not the school is continuing to meet the high standards set by the accrediting commission. It is important that you attend a regionally-accredited institution so that your units will more easily transfer.

Second, see if the program you want to study at that institution has special accreditation. There are national and international professional accrediting agencies that give their stamp of approval to programs that meet their standards. This type of accreditation is important, especially if you plan to seek a license of some sort related to your program of study. Some professional accreditation programs include:
1. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB []
2. For engineering programs, ABET, Inc. []
3. The National Architectural Accrediting Board, or NAAB []
4. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design []

These are just a few examples of professional accrediting agencies. Visit the Career and Employment Services office for more information about professional accrediting agencies, or come see me in the Counseling Center if your program is not business, engineering, architecture, art, or design, and we'll see what we can find out together.