Why Drexel U. Tamed Its Application Monster

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Published by The Chronicle of Higher Education

In short, the metrics that define success in news releases don’t guarantee it down the line. Yet presidents, boards, and consumers tend to equate application totals with quality, which fuels the drive to increase that tally each year.

"It’s like a drug," says Richard A. Hesel, principal at the Art & Science Group, a higher-education consulting firm. And it’s easy for colleges to inflate their numbers, he has found, easier than to improve their offerings. "Growing apps doesn’t necessarily get you there," he says.

That’s why Drexel’s president, Mr. Fry, is looking to a new measure of success. "There’s no longer a big celebration about how many apps we got," he says. "The big celebration’s going to be about how many of them graduate."

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