Many college policies are in place to enhance their ranking, not enhance the student experience nor outcome.
"Hans, we've done our homework. This college is ranked higher than..."
Homework? That's not homework.
I hear this way too often as the reason for choosing a college, and it's a wrong reason. Why?
Because College Rankings are a farce!
Here's clear evidence for my point. Look at the Top 7 weighted factors that go into the U.S. News & World Report Rankings-
- 20%- peer review from other colleges; really, peer review? #1 factor? 20% weight? No way!
- 17.6%- 6-year graduation rate; 6 years? Who does this serve? It's not the families!
- 10%- money spent per student; who does this matter to? Not me!
- 8%- average class size, smaller is valued more than larger; isn't this just a personal preference?
- 8%- 6-year grad. rate of Pell Grant recipients; where does this come into play for you?
- 7%- faculty compensation... what does this matter to students and parents?
- 5%- SAT/ ACT scores of incoming freshmen; SAT/ACT scores are still very important.
These 7 items make up 75% of a college ranking; it's preposterous!
Here are my top 7 factors. Wouldn't these much better represent a college's quality and value?
- The 4-year graduation rate
- The college job-placement rate
- The average salary of first-year jobs
- Internship opportunities
- Research opportunities
- Study-abroad opportunities
- Breadth and depth of study programs
Wouldn't these factors serve you far better? Shouldn't this list be the focus of college rankings?
Here's the farce. You won't find any of these 7 factors in the calculation of college rankings.
Yet, people continue to chase and pay premiums for a college's ranking. It's why colleges make it a focus of their attention. It's reflected in their policies and student outcomes.
It's further reflected in parents' frustration as time goes by and expected outcomes are not delivered.
Why are the rankings done this way? Because the powerhouse colleges can manipulate those numbers to their advantage. Whereas, they can't manipulate my top 7!
Have I proven my point?
Do college rankings influence your thinking? If so, let's talk!