Despite years of criticism, US News college rankings are live

Author: Yuvi September 15, 2022 Despite years of criticism, US News college rankings are live

College presidents have called the US news rankings meaningless. Policy makers accused him of skewing educational priorities. And high school guidance counselors call them unreliable.

Yet U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings remain a prime reference guide for families evaluating colleges — even though their accuracy was questioned again when Columbia University lost its No. 2 spot this week. Slipped all the way to number 18.

Interviews with students, parents and education professionals reveal that rankings are firmly established as a part of the college selection process across the country. This is true for students vying for the top 10, families looking for the best buy among regional schools and international students who want global name recognition.

“I haven’t met parents who don’t think rankings matter,” said Terry Maddy-Grove, whose company, Chartered University Consultants, advises clients around the world. “It doesn’t matter who they are, what their educational background is, or where they live.”

Among the most competitive high schools, college rankings have reached a level of passion.

“I think it’s more of a FOMO, a fear of missing out,” said Neil Daniel, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a top public high school in Alexandria, Va. “Going into TJ’s, a lot of people, their parents and the communities around them, are expected to get into their Ivy League school. There’s a lot of pressure – Harvard, Stanford, Yale, MIT”

Neil said he looked at the rankings but analyzed the average SAT and ACT scores at each school independently. He is interested in Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, a technical school ranked 22nd, but he sees some local options as possibilities, including the University of Virginia (No. 25), as well as his father’s alma mater. , Virginia Tech (not included). 62).

“To be honest, the schools in our area – they are really great,” he said. “The top 10 schools tend to be more expensive, but in terms of cost-effectiveness, you get a little more than the local schools.”

His mother Divya Singh said that ranking was not the most important thing for him.

“I want this to be a good school, don’t get me wrong,” she said. “There are things that are more important to us than the name of that school or the ranking of that school.”

Many parents, however, view rankings as make-or-break deals, the key to lifelong success, as well as bragging rights.

Marjorie Haas, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, said that despite increasing competition from other college rating publications, the US News rankings remain an important reference point for some parents.

“It is often the parents who are probably more status conscious and they actually see those rankings as a status indicator in some ways,” Dr. Haas, a longtime college administrator and former president of Rhodes College in Memphis.

Darren Rose, president of POM College Consulting, a college admissions consultant based in suburban Cleveland, says parents regularly contact his company armed with a list of top-ranked schools and insisting that their children stick to admission. Huh.

His company tries to explain that other schools might be a better fit, but he says that “numbers mean more to the family when they’re chatting with their friends or bragging on social media.” They have meaning in the real world.”

(Mr. Rose’s daughter is the chief of biochemistry at Ohio State University, which this week claimed it moved up in the US News rankings for public universities – and is now ranked 49th among national universities.)

“I’m not sure what purpose they serve other than helping schools charge more money,” Mr Rose said. “If your school is three, nine or 18, I don’t know how it matters.”

Rankings also matter for many students planning to live in the state.

Lana Heaney, a junior at Michigan State University (No. 77), said she was embarrassed in high school because she knew she couldn’t go to the University of Michigan (No. 25), which is often considered “public ivy.”

She applied to several other state schools, but was rejected, she said, because they were below Michigan State. “When people think about what they want to do in their life, they obviously want to make a decent amount of money,” she said. “When you go to a better school, people assume you’ll get a better job.”

In 2020, Michelle Landrito Sisson used US News Rankings to help her find the right college for her son, Toby Sisson, who was then a high school student in Westbury, NY.

The rankings were “more important to us than that,” she said.

Nevertheless, they had their limits. Even though Toby was accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (No. 41), the offer came without any financial support. Ms Sisson said she chose to go to Stony Brook University because of her relatively high ranking and affordability.

“You can bet I’m glad to hear it’s ranked high this year,” Ms Sisson wrote in a message on Monday. Stony Brook has climbed 16 places to number 77.

For international students, rankings can make a difference in their job prospects. Ms Maddy-Grove said these students – particularly students from China and India – tend to focus on US news lists because employers in their home countries are more apt to hire graduates from well-known universities.

One of his clients from Belgium, who attended Middlebury College, a prestigious college in Vermont currently ranked 11th among liberal arts colleges, found he initially had trouble getting back home because employers weren’t familiar with the school.

University of Alabama Education Policy Center senior faculty fellow F. King Alexander noted that while the rankings have become influential due to a lack of reliable information on college quality, they are still based on flawed methods of rewarding colleges that charge high prices and low acceptance rates.

“There has been such a lack of information to make good decisions,” said Dr. Alexander, who formerly led several large public universities, most recently Oregon State.

Still, Dr. Alexander said, the rankings have taken on mythic proportions at some universities, so much so that when he served as chancellor at Louisiana State University, the rankings were part of his performance review.

Walter Kimbrough, interim director of the Black Men’s Research Institute at Morehouse College, said the rankings reward rich and white institutions.

“It’s a perpetuation of privilege,” Dr. Kimbrough said. “Don’t call it the best college – call it America’s most privileged college.”

US News did not immediately respond to requests for an interview. But it has often made the case that college is the biggest investment families will make, and that rankings help high school students and their families make the most well-informed decisions about college and ensure that Institutions themselves are held accountable.

However, the rating may become a self-fulfilling prophecy, according to John Byrne, publisher and editor of Poets & Quants, which provides information about business schools and publishes its evaluation system for business schools.

“They affect applications,” he said. “They affect the ability of schools to raise funds from donors, and they also affect a school’s ability to attract faculty.”

He points to a survey of more than 350 admissions counselors at business schools, which found that 63 percent of applicants thought a school’s ranking was the most important factor in choosing a school.

Mr Byrne’s publication first raised questions about US News’ No. 1 ranking for Temple University’s online MBA program, revealing that the school had submitted false data. Moshe Porat, the former dean of the business school, was convicted of wire fraud last year.

Of the myriad college rankings, those of US News have become the most controversial, a result of its influence, the Temple case, and now Columbia’s expulsion from the top 10.

Columbia acknowledged that some of its self-reported data was inaccurate, but the dramatic drop helped cast further doubts on the credibility of the US News Enterprise. (U.S. News also ranks cars, mutual funds, and hospitals.)

Still, the new No. 18 ranking could have a material impact on Colombia.

Ms Maddy-Grove said she was due to speak this week with a family whose child had entered university as soon as she planned to implement the decision.

“I think they’re going to say they want the kid to go to a different school now,” she said. “Colombia has not changed. Rankings have changed.”

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at

15 September, 2022, 2:30 pm

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