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How to Find the Right College With the 5 | 10 | 20 Rule - Using Data to Influence Your College Search

How to Find the Right College With the 5 | 10 | 20 Rule

Using Data to help influence your college search.

You want your child to attend a good college, and you want the investment of time and money to be worthwhile.

But you don't want to send your child to a college where they won't succeed or get a degree that won't provide them a meaningful career.

How do you find a college that can do all of this?

The solution is to focus on student outcomes after college. The best way to do this is to apply Engenius Learning's 5 | 10 | 20 rule. 

The Best College vs. The Best College Outcome

College planners focus too much on getting you into the "best" college. "Just go there, and everything will be fine," they say, "you'll grow into it and find yourself." Unfortunately, this mindset has led to some terrible outcomes for students.

Currently, in U.S. colleges:

• 30% of first-year students drop out before their sophomore year

• 54% of all students drop out before getting a degree

If you're a bit math-averse, that means just 46% of those who start college finish! As the statistics show, the advice to attend the "best college" has led to very poor outcomes for students.

How College Ranking Lists Have Ruined Student Outcomes

When searching for a college, students often come across college ranking websites. One of the most popular,, recently ranked the top 5 colleges in America.

The colleges were

  1. Princeton
  2. Harvard
  3. Columbia
  4. MIT 
  5. Yale

According to this group of "college experts," these colleges were the best of the best.

But the best for whom?

Best for business school? Best for liberal arts? Best for engineering? Best if you are still undecided and need time to find your way? How about a student looking for a small school experience? Or maybe you want to go to a school with a great sports program. Would you like to do meaningful research or attend a technical college and get your hands dirty?

How can a general list of colleges meet your specific needs?

The answer is that it can't.

College lists are written by someone else, for someone else, and for a purpose other than to help you find your best fit. Websites are in the business of getting views, not personalizing college searches, so titles like "Best Colleges in America" get clicks. The result is that these lists try to categorize colleges into a one-size-fits-all solution. And you know how well one-size-fits-all pants fit, right?

Getting Through College Is Better Than Getting To College

The current system is only designed to get you TO the best college. We should be concerned with getting you TO & THROUGH college with a degree to help you achieve your objectives and have a positive ROI. This concept of looking beyond college is called Future Planning and will dramatically change how you approach your college search.

To successfully plan for your future, you need to look at:

  • 5-year graduation rates
  • Degree ROI
  • 20-year prospects for different majors and sectors

When you look at college outcomes this way, your success rate at getting TO & THROUGH improves dramatically.

FUTURE PLANNING > college planning