Mark Montgomery, expert educational consultant, visits High Point University in High Point, North Carolina to illustrate that just because a college has a lot of bells and whistles, that doesn’t necessarily translate to academic excellence, but in High Point’s case it just might.
So I finished my tour here at High Point, and had a nice conversation with an admissions officer; she was very generous with her time, I also met with a reference librarian. The big issue here at High Point is, where’s the beef? Because there is so much luxury here, in terms of the facilities. The dorm rooms are like hotel rooms, one of the mothers was saying on the tour, “This is better than the hotel I stayed in last night!” Fountains everywhere, an arcade, a steakhouse, these incredible libraries where students can study in these — the furniture is gorgeous! The resources here, in terms of the physical plant, unparalleled. Really, unparalleled. No other place will you find this level of luxury.
But the criticism is, where’s the academic substance? Because you have a lot of students, when you look at the statistics, the students here are not as bright, on average, as in other places. However, the philosophy here is set by Nido Qubein, the President, who came in six years ago, and he said something to this effect: “Build it, and they will come.” So he’s built all this physical plant and the idea is it will attract more and better students. So I ask whether or not that’s happening. And as a matter of fact, it seems to be happening. SAT points have gone up by about 100 points in the last six years and the average GPA has gone up, from about, say, 2.8 or 2.9 to the admissions officer said maybe 3.2. So it has improved by quite a lot.
So it’s really interesting to see how a university can transform itself through a mission. So it’s controversial, there are people who are not so sure about whether or not there’s more heat than light, but it’s a business model that’s definitely working for High Point and if you’re looking for those amenities, can’t do better than this.