What’s Wrong with Rankings

by Jacie Shuman

September 9th is the day that US News and World Report the rankings for “America’s Best Colleges.” This ranking is a way for schools to measure themselves on how they compare to the other elite colleges. The problem is that this ranking is based off of what US News defines as ‘best’. Their ranking focuses on the individuals these schools let in and not what the students leave with after their time in college. The ranking is based heavily off of what percentage of students get in and what their average SAT score is. With this being said, the easiest ways for a school to better their rank is to “raise SAT benchmarks” and to reject more applicants.

 On the other side of things, Times has released their own rankings and do not focus on a school’s prestige but instead on “economic diversity.” They started off by selecting colleges with a four-year graduation rate over 75%. This alone is only 98 four-year colleges out of 3,100 in the country. The rest of the ranking was determined by the “percentage of students who received a Pell grant and the net price of attendance.”

 The need for schools to climb the rankings “may pay off for colleges” but in the long run hurts the students and their families. In the end, neither of these rankings do students any justice. They may determine which college has the best incoming students but that does not show if they have taught their students anything while at school. Ranking colleges will do “little to expand educational opportunity” for the majority of students whose school is not on either list.

Kelly, Andrew. “New College Rankings Remind Us Of What’s Wrong With American Higher Education.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

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