As a high school senior, the most important thing to me in my college search was the renown of each school. I was determined to go to the best, most esteemed school. In all honesty, I didn’t think that Fairfield University fell into the same category as some of my top choices, but when acceptances and scholarship packages were rolled out, I realized that Fairfield was my best option.
In some ways, I regret writing off Fairfield for not being as “respectable” as Boston College or Fordham University. Fairfield was founded in 1942, while BC was established in 1863 and Fordham in 1841. Relatively speaking, Fairfield is young, and is still very much growing.
Since I have started my education here in the fall of 2018, the University has changed tremendously. According to collegetuitioncompare.com, Fairfield’s acceptance rate was 60.56 percent in the 2017-2018 admissions cycle. For the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, that number dipped to 57.13 percent, continuing the downward trend since 2014-2015. In line with its selectivity, the University has risen in the rankings of more academically competitive schools.
It is refreshing to see that there is room for growth in higher education. I’ve noticed that the “best” schools have had those reputations for years, like Georgetown, Harvard and Yale. Fairfield doesn’t have nearly as much time or pedigree on their side, yet the University is making a name for itself now, and we get to be part of it. One could argue that experiencing the development of excellence is more special than immediately joining the ranks of it.
Fairfield was ranked in the top 5 percent in over 11 categories on collegefactual.com including best nursing schools (#55 overall, #2 in Connecticut), best communication and media schools (#50 overall, #1 in Connecticut) and best management information systems bachelor’s degree schools (#13 overall, #1 in Connecticut), to name a few.
As someone who is studying communications, these accolades are specifically important to me. Success in this field is generally more difficult to objectively quantify in comparison to students of other majors. In communication, answers are not always as black and white as mathematics, per se. I appreciate this recognition, and I feel as though it is a necessary stepping stone in validating my classmates’ hard work inside the classroom. In an increasingly mediated society, I hope that this major can adapt to new trends, and evolve with new media.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)/Times Higher Education (THE) 2022 college ranking used methods such as considering student’s engagement with their studies, their overall experience at school and their relationships with professors. In addition, the ranking is based on a myriad of different performance indicators such as graduation, student diversity and student inclusion. WSJ/THJ placed Fairfield in the ranks of the top 25 percent of colleges and universities in the United States.
I prefer rankings that take a more holistic approach, such as the WSJ/THE rankings. It means more to me as a student and a member of this community that Fairfield is recognized not just as an academic institution, but also as a center for personal growth and development. The clubs and activities at the University are what make it what it is. Students’ quality of life at Fairfield would be low if all the University had to offer was academics. Extracurriculars, in conjunction with strong interpersonal relationships between faculty members and students are essential to exceptional colleges and universities.
Fairfield now sits in spot number three on the northern region list of the U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges in 2022. It’s rewarding to watch our small Jesuit University be among the likes of big-time schools. All alumni can hope for is to watch their alma mater flourish. I am excited that by the time I graduate, I can look back and know that the University was a better place when I left it than when I entered it.