Archive for the ‘college rankings’ Category

Who Cares about College Rankings?

November 8, 2018

Quite frankly, I am sick of college rankings. If it isn’t U.S. News, it’s Forbes, Money or endless other publications ranking what they consider the best colleges and universities.  The college rankings can tell us anything from the most connected schools to the best value universities. These college rankings measure different attributes that may or may not be important to a family when they are considering schools for their child. Often they are more confusing than helpful.

Many college rankings are oversimplified and downright unfair. They can be the result of professors, students, or even the universities themselves answering questionnaires that have been sent to them by a magazine or newspaper.  Many times college administrators are asked to evaluate colleges with which they have no knowledge, not just their own school.

Rankings often lead to misleading conclusions. Some colleges will spend money to improve something that will help their ranking, but may not benefit the students at all. Many use college rankings in their marketing materials.  These rankings often ignore factors that are of concern to prospective students.  Too frequently, they contain the same schools over and over.

As a private college counselor, I pay very little attention to these rankings because I want my students to consider colleges that are right for them. The highest ranked schools may not be the best fit or a college where they will have a successful academic and social experience. That to me is what is far more important than any ranking.

 

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Look for the College Fit, Not the Ranking

April 4, 2018

For many high school juniors, college planning has begun. This, of course, includes the college search. College Direction suggests that students put rankings at the bottom of their considerations and concentrate on researching schools that are a good fit for them. This fit should includes academic, financial and social as well. Rankings just add to the hype surrounding college admissions and rarely have little to do with the educational experience a student will receive. When College Direction is researching schools for a student, we are much more concerned with the undergraduate experience and the four-year graduation rates at different schools. To find colleges with the best fit, students should do some self-reflection and write down a list of qualities they consider important when choosing a school. The colleges they choose to explore more completely should have as many of these qualities as possible.