Admissions

Sunset for College Rankings?

If you've spent any time at all on the College Confidential discussion forum, you're no doubt aware of all the controversy about college ranking lists, especially those published annually by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR). Ranking mania has seeped into almost every corner of of the higher education admissions game, from undergraduate through graduate and professional schools.

It seems as though almost anyone with access to a publishing platform is getting into the game. One ever-present thread on the CC forum involves something along the lines of “Rank your top 20 liberal arts colleges," or something similar, covering the Ivies, grad schools, engineering, schools, musical theater programs, med school, law school, etc., etc. The tsunami of subjectivity is overwhelming.

Which brings us to the point of “What is the point?" Some think that USNWR is in it just to sell magazines and Web subscriptions. The same could be said of others who persist year after year in creating their seemingly endless lists of sometimes arcane categories — “Best Northeast small colleges with the best food and greenest quads" (yes, I jest).

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