College Ranking Lists: Useful or Useless Criterion?
Posted date: Feb 13, 2018
The process of choosing a higher educational establishment to apply is an uneasy and daunting task. Usually, we simply don’t know where to start the search and end up seeking help in college ranking lists that are always available for both students and parents. While some people despise each and every edition of college rankings, others consider them as helpful and informative sources of information, which help to make up the mind. To discuss the value of a rank list and its pitfalls, let’s have a look at the main objectives of certain the most popular ranking lists of the USA.
U.S. News & World Report, Unigo’s, and the Forbes college rankings, the Princeton Review, the Washington Monthly, the Union College ranking, and some others are probably the most asked-for sources, each of which offers and bears its own truth and reality regarding the demands of educational quality, graduates’ success, and affordability of educational establishments. For example, to examine the statistics based on the successful and less successful alumni and their social status turn to the Forbes list of colleges and universities that are aimed at preparing future B-schoolers as well as Wall Street moguls; to choose a college you’d like, visit an online platform Unigo, which not only provides recent-students’ reviews but suggests helpful quizzes aimed at defining and finding a perfect school specially for you; or look through the enormous colleges list annually offered by U.S. News & World Report, which is considered to be a starting point for your college search attempts.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of options to follow college ranking lists that assist us in evaluating all the pros and cons of the higher educational establishments. However, are they good and reliable enough to blindly accept the descriptions and statistics that might be someone’s subjective point of view?
Positive Aspects of College Rankings 2018
No matter how controversial and disputable the issue of trustworthiness of college ranking lists is, ranking reports, without doubt, provide students and parents with facts and data, convenient tables and statistics all gathered in one place. Although rankings are highly criticized because of their questionable methods of collection, they are a great helpful source of lists of schools you might be interested in and conduct further research, if necessary, taking into account more specific/personal criteria of choice.
Also, college rankings, where the lists of high-ranked colleges/universities and low-ranked colleges/universities are exposed, contribute and influence the politics of the US educational establishments encouraging them to improve their advising services, campus activities, counseling, and tutoring; hence, attract more students to the premises of their educational institution.
Negative Aspects of the US College Ranking 2018
Talking about the negative sides or better to say useless aspects of seeking help in the ranking tool of selection of your perfect university/college “match,” we can’t but mention the opinion-based exposition of the data. On the first sight, comprehensive and well-structured ranking system of any source, in reality, is a subjective well-engineered PR process of attracting students. In fact, judging from the report from The Delta Cost Project, there are no consistent researches that would show the reasons why to enroll this university is more prestigious than the other. All the surveys conducted by educational establishments are aimed at asking and then assessing answers given by people who’ve simply shared their points of view. Moreover, these responses often can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, or even manipulated.
Secondly, college ranking lists are, most of the time, very similar in data they provide; in sense, we can find several universities repeated in almost every top 10 of each rank list. It is explained by the fact that these lists are made of either the acceptance rate or the high school GPA/SAT scores of a student. However, have you ever thought about an option of entering a college/university with lower school grads that may result in your better class rank and grades in the long run? Why not escape the feeling of being less smart among bookworms if you can be cleverer in comparison to your group mates attending a lower ranked school? Moreover, it has been found by Princeton economist Alan Krueger that regardless the place in the list of the college/university you graduate from, those students who were ranked higher in their group, are inclined to earn more money on their jobs. So, does it really matter how elite is your school if the outcome is the same?
Another reason why college rankings aren’t considered to be that a much useful tool of selection a school to apply is that a student’s success or failure doesn’t really depend on the prestige of a college they attend but his or her talents and intellect.
Finally, a plethora of lists each ranking suggests will never help you to make a deliberate choice and pick up a college of your dream. To find a good fit between you as a future student and the institution you’d like to obtain the knowledge in, do personal visits and personal interactions, attend classes during open days, or try food at students’ canteens. Look for a college that would match your needs. To do this, determine your own criteria of selection, criteria that are important and matter particularly for you. Create your own college ranking list with the help of which you’ll find your number 1!
Summarizing the represented arguments above, it’s worth saying that although we should look through the college rankings, they shouldn’t be taken too seriously while defining the college of our dream. As far as a college is a place where we grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially, a great deal of our time has to be devoted to the effective means of search and selection of the best institution for our type of personality!