Different colleges have different purposes—why they exist, and what they intend to ‘produce’ in a successful student. But this is rarely, if ever, discussed in the process of choosing a College. This strikes me as odd. If a student truly believes that self-understanding is the ultimate purpose of college, would he or she not be advantaged to know which colleges take that as their primary mission?
If you choose a college that shares your aspirations, we believe you are more likely to succeed when you get there.
This site is designed to help students understand the Colleges and Universities they inhabit—or will inhabit. It provides data, always in comparison to peer institutions, so that students and guidance counselors can make better decisions about their college goals.
Based on our reading of the history of higher education the US, we separate the various purposes into seven different categories. Some are overlapping–education for citizenship and education for democracy are very similar in a democratic society–but they each have enough of a distinction find a different herein.
- About Us - College Deliberately is the brain-child of two University Professors who grew frustrated with students who had chosen colleges that did not match their aspirations. The Internet has flipped a number of industries that depended on information asymmetry: car dealers used to know more about car prices in the region than the customer — that gave… Continue Reading
- About – Culture - "The principle function of education is to transmit the culture--to enable new members of a group to profit from what others have already learned. It follows the nth principal task of the student is to learn what others already know." -BF Skinner, 1974 Continue Reading
- About – Research - In the late 1800's, two colleges were founded in the US based on German — not English — Universities. Oxford and Cambridge in England were, like Harvard and Princeton that modeled them, traditional universities emphasizing character development, abstract thought and rhetoric. The new German universities explicitly sought to conduct scientific research and dedicate themselves to… Continue Reading
- About – Leadership - The idea of leadership as a central outcome of higher education is an old one — dating back to the ancient Greek Philosopher Plato's most famous book, The Republic. The notion of 'leadership' has changed since then. Whereas Plato emphasized intellect and abstraction, today we emphasize visionary thinking and decisiveness. Continue Reading
- About – Religion - "It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures,..." Colleges ranked as using a relatively high frequency of religious language on their sites may not necessarily have a religious affiliation---in particular, older public universities sometimes have the remnants of religious language (like 'transcendent') hanging around… Continue Reading
- About – Citizenship - Public colleges and universities see themselves as providing a public service. The U.S., at least its ideal, depends on its citizens to make decisions, serve in the military and work for the greater good. As such, the character of the country reflects the character of its citizens. Continue Reading
- About – Character - W.E.B. DuBois, in his criticism of Booker T. Washington, spoke of "education that encourages aspiration, that sets the loftiest of ideals and seeks as an end culture and character." Institutions in this tradition do not structure their education with jobs or careers as the primary goal, but rather to help students become better people. Continue Reading
- About – Career - For many students looking for a college or university, "the job" one gets at the end of college is more important than the college itself. While this is understandable given the cost of college today, many colleges with a 'career focus' focus not just on job-training, but on finding a vocation: an occupation that will… Continue Reading