This summer is off to a hot start…almost as hot as the topic of institutional accreditation! It’s important for representatives to understand and accurately represent the school’s accreditation, including the full name of the accreditor and what exactly being accredited means. From our trail stops, we’ve learned that prospective students are all too often given partial or inaccurate info.
When accreditation came up on his PowerPoint presentation, I asked Ned about what accreditation meant. He attempted to explain what it meant, but his explanation was somewhat confusing. He eventually concluded that accreditation meant that the school had been approved by an accrediting body and that it meant their programs weren’t just a scam.
I saw that accreditation was on the program sheet and asked Robert about the school’s accreditation status. Robert explained that it means the school is accredited by the government, like many other schools.
We VERY rarely come across a representative who says, “I don’t know,” when the topic comes up. More often, they discuss the subject and provide inaccurate information with sometimes alarming confidence and ease.
At the end of the interview, I asked Jamie if the school was accredited. He told me they weren’t nationally accredited because it was located in the state. I asked if it was regionally, and he told me he wasn’t sure what it was called. He told me the accrediting body audits the school and it wasn’t national because it was a state franchise. I asked about the auditing, and he told me the school was audited by the state and VA because it works with veterans.
It’s pretty surprising that even though there’s a tremendous amount of information available on the school and accreditors’ websites, it’s rarely referenced or used in interviews. We always encourage schools to build the conversation into presentations, just to be sure this doesn’t happen:
I told Jon that my mother wanted me to make sure that school was accredited, to which he immediately responded that the school was accredited, but did not state who the school was accredited by. Jon began to state the programmatic accreditation while referring to the School Catalog, but only said that they were accredited by “the Accrediting Bureau of blah blah blah”. I asked Jon what “accrediting” meant, and he explained accreditation as a governing body that made sure I would earn “college credits” that would allow me to transfer from one school to another, and that would make sure that I would receive an “actual associate’s degree”.
Just for fun, try asking one of your admissions representatives the name of the institutional accreditor and what exactly accreditation means. You could be surprised at what you uncover!