Editorial: Rider’s rankings ride even higher

When it comes to placing on lists of best colleges, Rider knows no boundaries. It made a jump of 15 spots from last year’s U.S. News & World Report list of best colleges in the North — from number 36 to being locked in a five-way tie with Rowan University and three other colleges for number 21 out of more than 140 accredited Northeastern schools. Rider has shown that even as a small, private school, it can certainly hold its own.

Also, once again appearing in The Princeton Review’s Top 376 Colleges, Rider is continuing to improve its rank due to its high academic standards and strong preparation for students’ futures. Finally, this year marks a 48-spot jump on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Colleges, moving from spot 568 out of 610 schools to 520 out of 650 schools.

The list of criteria used by U.S. News in arriving at its rankings include: peer assessment; retention and graduation of students; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; alumni giving; and “graduation rate performance,” the difference between the proportion of students expected to graduate and the proportion who actually do graduate, and high school counselor ratings.

Perhaps the biggest demonstration of our improvement in the “financial resources” and “alumni giving” categories is the new additions on campus: the new academic building, North Hall, and the expansion of the Bart Luedeke Center Theater. With the nine new classrooms and 16 faculty offices in North Hall, the campus no longer has to worry about finding enough space for students and faculty. Plus, the expanded stage, dressing rooms and rehearsal room in the theater expansion are something that will not only lead theater majors to pick Rider, but also persuade students who enjoy a good performance to come here as well.

Rider holds accreditations by seven different organizations, including National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs. Accreditations are valuable because they show how well prepared students are for their future careers upon graduation. These certifications are granted when a school shows that its programs are meeting specific academic standards set by the organization. For some students, the difference between picking Rider over another college may be that Rider has an accreditation that another school doesn’t. This might lead to an increase in applications and enrollment, and the university looks much better because it took the extra step to make sure its programs are strong and more effective than those of other schools.

Since last fall, Rider students have made great accomplishments, starting with the field hockey team winning its first North East Conference Championship since 2004. In March, Rider saw over 1,000 people participate in Relay for Life. In past years, the event has been recognized as the “Top Performing College Event in All of New Jersey” by the American Cancer Society. Angela DiFranco, a 2011 graduate, was one of 15 students in New Jersey to receive the Distinguished Student Teacher award. These triumphs for individual students as well as organizations are something to be recognized.

The fact that so many people coming from Rider have achievements to their name and accreditations under their belt is giving the university a reputation boost among other schools, which is just one example of our positive peer reviews category. Through its peer assessments, Rider is just sounding like a better school to attend.

Whether it’s because the programs here will better prepare students, or because a student athlete wants to follow in the footsteps of previous teams to championships, Rider has a certain level of prestige associated with it now. “I’m a Rider graduate” has such a nice ring to it.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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