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Don't Trust College Rankings
They might not be as trustworthy as you think...
Be A Skeptic
As parents and students, it's common to rely on college rankings to help narrow down and choose the best possible higher education option. However, recent reports and allegations about the transparency and objectivity of these rankings have caused concern. Why college rankings may not be as trustworthy as you may think and how this impacts the college decision-making process.
Let's start by acknowledging that Wall Street Journal rankings are just one example of college rankings that may not be reliable. Several reports have come out over the past few years, alleging that newspapers extort top colleges to pay for their ranking. These rankings are complete garbage, and they only make sense if something corrupt or stupid is going on behind the scenes. While we don't have concrete proof of these allegations, it's enough to spark some concern.
One of the biggest flags that college rankings might not be trustworthy is when you see schools ranked in spots that don't make sense. For example, you have reputable schools like Amherst that are ranked higher than they should be, while top Ivies like Cornell and Dartmouth are ranked lower than expected. Given the reports of newspapers extorting colleges for money to raise their spots in rankings, this could indicate that these rankings are being artificially manipulated.
But why would colleges pay for rankings? The answer is simple - it all comes down to reputation and visibility. Being ranked high on college rankings can lead to an influx of student applications, more funding, and ultimately, a better reputation. This, in turn, attracts better-quality students, professors, and, in some cases, even corporate sponsors.
More Than A Number
So clearly relying solely on college rankings can lead to a narrow view of what makes an excellent higher education institution. Rankings usually factor in metrics such as acceptance rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates. And while these metrics can sometimes provide an accurate representation of a school's academic achievements, they don't necessarily factor in qualitative factors such as location, campus culture, and student support services.
So, while they can sometimes provide some valuable insight into a school's academic achievements, it's essential to take them with a pinch of salt. We recommend using rankings as just one of many factors to consider when making your college decision. Other critical factors to consider include campus culture, location, extracurricular activities, internships, and student support services. Remember, the best education is about more than just numbers and statistics.
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