Allegheny featured in Princeton Review

The Princeton Review recognized Allegheny College on its 2015 “Colleges That Pay You Back,” a list of 200 schools across the country that meet three specific criteria: excellent academics, affordable cost and strong career prospects upon graduation.

In order to determine a college’s return on education rating, the Princeton Review looked at approximately 40 measures of finances for graduated students, including cost of attendance, financial aid and even career satisfaction.

“I think it’s so much more than the monetary piece of it that people are equating to ‘Colleges That Pay You Back,’” Cornell B. LeSane II, dean of admissions, said. “It goes beyond that: I think it speaks to the academic experience, the student experience both here and after college. Allegheny offers top-tier academic programs that prepare students to enter the global workforce, in-depth career preparation services and affordability.”

In addition, the information provided to the Princeton Review came directly from students, alumni and administrators, which LeSane believes speaks to the strength of the school’s experience.

“These are folks who have a connection to Allegheny,” LeSane said. “This is not some superficial ranking…this is based on what our alums, our students and our administrators are saying about their experiences and I would argue that doesn’t get any better for Allegheny.”

According to LeSane, the senior composition is part of the invaluable experience that students gain at Allegheny, which adds to the skills Allegheny provides students.

“The one thing that I think sometimes we miss is how important that senior comp is. We’re a liberal arts school so we talk about some skill sets that students should have prior to graduation: being able to think critically, speak persuasively, write clearly. But we actually make students prove that before they graduate through their senior comp,” LeSane said.

Allegheny alum and assistant professor of global health studies Rebecca Dawson, ’00, echoed this sentiment, saying that her senior comp was one of the most worthwhile parts of her education.

“Having an independent research experience that I was coached on but I was also coached on how to talk about it to market myself as an employee or potential graduate student, that was invaluable,” Dawson said.

Aside from the academic preparation, Allegheny’s network of alumni and the on-campus community are crucial to the return on an Allegheny education.

“I applied for Ph.D. programs seven years after graduation and two of my letters of recommendation came from faculty here,” Dawson said. “There is that personal connection, staying in touch with people who knew me enough when I was here.”

Ultimately, Dawson believes that it is the synergy of the Allegheny experience that justifies Allegheny’s place on Princeton Review’s list.

“Whether it’s allowing students to form groups or encouraging them to be student athletes or allowing them to be who they are and be committed in everything that they do…it really is to produce a global citizen who will go out, in whatever field…to make a difference and contribute. I don’t think that that has changed,” Dawson said.

Aurley Morris, ’15, has used the Allegheny community to secure employment post graduation. She will be working for Deloitte Consulting as a business analyst which she found from the network of alumni who recruit from Allegheny College.

In addition, Hope Collins, ’15, will be working for the U.S. Brig Niagara after graduation, a job that she found through a history department Experiential Learning Seminar working on a warship from 1812, belonging to the Erie Maritime Museum.

“I got the job because it’s an EL here…you can do it as an Allegheny student because they have training programs for us, even after you graduate,” Collins said.

Despite being recognized as a college that is worth the investment, Morris believes that the responsibility rests with the students themselves.

“Small schools can be very rewarding if you have the right sort of attitude and mindset. I think if you’re very independent and willing to find opportunities, small schools are perfect,” Morris said. “At the same time, I think that smaller schools as Allegheny don’t have the same kind of exposure to certain opportunities that larger schools do…but I think that small schools have the tools necessary if you want to take advantage of them.”

LeSane hopes the administration can improve on this, acknowledging that students must take initiative as well.

“While are there are lots of services and resources available for students, the onus has to fall on them as well,” LeSane said. “There are some students who just don’t realize everything that’s there. How do we make sure we get that message out there, because I think if they knew, we’re looking at a better experience overall.”