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Academic Rankings – good or bad? (updated March 14, 2022)

World-class schools and the worst schools don’t need to show their rankings to attract students.  Have you noticed that Stanford University does not mention U.S. News or its similar rankings in any of its publications or web pages?

Academic rankings should be used only for your reference.  It should not be the only method for you to choose a school.   Be aware of the pros and cons of academic rankings and use various college rankings wisely to select your best school.

Related articles:

Why College Rankings Are Good

  1. Academic rankings could provide you with info on the quality of degrees, majors, future job opportunities, salaries, ROI (Return On Investment) and many others.
  2. Rankings offer admission related data such as the requirements for test scores, GPAs, and the statistics for acceptance rates in the past.
  3. Rankings from different media use different methodologies and parameters could give you broader perspectives on your school choices.


Why College Rankings Are Bad

  1. No ranking could not be as comprehensive as possible to cover various aspects of colleges and universities.
  2. The data for rankings could be manipulated, made up, or falsified by the schools filling out their info for the rankings.
  3. Bias and subjectivity could be involved in any ranking decision.
  4. Rankings could mislead you in selecting the best and most suitable school for you.
  5. No college rankings have used crime rates as a crucial metric.   The crime rate may not have anything to do with a school’s academic quality.  However, it is a big factor when an international student chooses a school to attend.
  6. Reed College says U.S. News & World Report’s rankings are hopelessly flawed
  7. A “Statement on College Rankings” from President Kenneth P. Ruscio of Washington & Lee University.
  8. “Beyond the College Rankings” – from From Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Admissions, 2005-2013, Yale University
  9. College Rankings Fail to Measure the Influence of the Institution (The New York Times)
  10. Should we care about rankings?  (Perspective from Oberlin College – a top liberal arts college)
  11. Four Things to Know about Rankings (from top liberal arts school Trinity College)

A lot more pros and cons on college academic rankings could be found on a post titled “How important are those college rankings”.  This article was originally written by a well-respected scholar Dr. Aldemaro Romero Jr.