There are many schools whose education is severely undervalued because of the US News and World Report's college rankings, which tend to reward specific issues (such as alumni donation rates) that have little if any bearing on the actual quality of education. Rankings can be helpful, but more specific and accurate criteria (such as graduation rates or standardized test scores) should be used in lieu of arbitrary standards.
The rankings that are put out every year by U.S. News and World Report are vital to a college's success. This should not be the case, because these rankings focus solely on grades and academics of schools. They fail to look at job placement and overall campus experience. Also, the same schools are regularly ranked near the top.
News agencies exist to make money, and they make money through advertising. Given that they have a near monopoly over the rankings of schools, it is impossible to think they do not bend their results towards the highest bidder. A school with a high review can charge more tuition, amongst other things. So they would be foolish to not buy their way to the top, if they can afford it. There needs to be more competition in the rankings of schools, and more open answers of how they determine those rankings.
Colleges with higher rankings, like Princeton and such, take these higher rankings and then make it harder and more pricey to attend there school, making it harder and more of a privilege to get in.
Although U.S. News provides some explanation for how it derives its rankings and also provides rankings in different categories, it remains true that students' needs differ, and that a student from a lesser school could receive a superior education to a peer who attended a college U.S. News ranks as more prestigious. Clearly, some ranking mechanisms are useful to current and prospective students and employers alike. But the best way out of exalting a single, widely-criticized ranking entity is for multiple ranking sources to approach the task independently, each trying to fill in the gaps or distortions in the others' perspectives. This whole array of rankings should receive the kind of publicity now reserved for U.S. News alone. Such an approach would motivate everyone to investigate educational quality in a more fine-grained way than they do when relying on the U.S. News-derived reputations automatically, as often happens now.
The rankings count too much toward the school's esteem but also toward influencing student decisions. Just because some magazine ranked a school because they need to sell advertising space does not mean a certain school is right for any given student. There are smaller and more specialized schools that don't get included because of these rankings.
When making decisions about colleges and universities, most potential students and parents (if they are making the decision carefully and responsibly) look to a variety of sources for reviews and ratings of places of higher education. They talk to guidance counselors and college advisers and look through reference books related to choice of college in the library or a specialized office. Anecdotal reviews from other students give insights and inside information that rankings from something like U.S. News and World Report cannot replace. These rankings play an important role, I am sure, but how universities and colleges are esteemed depends on a lot of different factors and sources.
The rankings for colleges and universities published by U.S. News and World Report show credibility factors for them. One likes to have a good professional opinion before they decide which college/university they will go to, and these reports can be a very good resource for determining that, along with their graduation rate and prices.
US News and World Report's rankings of US colleges poorly represent the colleges on its list. These ratings can prove damaging to the institution because many readers do not understand the faulty criteria upon which the rankings are made. Seriously, is it a good measure to show how many faculty members contribute to the college? Other bogus financial considerations look one way on paper but entirely different in real life. Colleges earn points for recruiting applicants only to turn them down; it makes them appear selective. Furthermore, some of the groupings are entirely arbitrary. Mid-sized schools don't want to be juxtaposed to large universities; they prefer be listed with smaller schools. And regional schools want to make the national list. These rankings encourage colleges to monkey with their statistics to show themselves in a particular light. Quite frankly, colleges and universities prefer to be judged on their own merits and not on arbitrary categories that have little to do with actual education. Many of them have decided not to participate in the survey. Perhaps high school students pour over the results; that is their loss as many schools have been unfairly judged while others have been unnecessarily bolstered.
The U.S. News and World Report rankings are one of the less biased school reviews, so I feel confident that their rankings are both fair and well-deserved.
There are a variety of different rankings and articles published each year that contribute to the esteem or attention that colleges get. Those who are interested in a particular college will do well to study a variety of different sources before making a major decision, such as deciding where to go to school.
One purpose of the university experience is to educate a person in order to get a job, post-graduation. Another reason is to educate a student and make them a more worldly individual. I think both of these things can be statistically checked for, and a viable competition leads to a stronger outcome for the university system in general.
The schools that are ranked the best are rated highly for a reason. The rankings themselves may slightly help to perpetuate this, but these schools were the best before the rankings and will continue to be the best if the rankings are taken away. That being said, there are many great schools that aren't in the top of the rankings.
The researchers do their homework and spend a lot of time visiting the campuses. They also use statistical reports and data such as success after college and exam scores.
I think they have just the right amount of input , of course you should look to other sources also, but U.S. News and World Report is a great place to start.
In today's market, everywhere you turn there are reviews of everything under the sun. There is too much out there, information wise, for any one publication to have an overly large amount of sway in the public opinion. Prestigious rankings can be found elsewhere besides just US News and World Reports. People have access to rankings, testimonials, reviews, etc. at their fingertips thanks to the World Wide Web. No one entity has that much power anymore.