College Rankings: Who Cares?

Bottom Line: Rankings are useless.

The shortest chapter in American literary history contains only six words. They are found and directed at the contribution offered by US News & World Report to the national dialog on college admission: “Profiles are useful; rankings are useless.”

Instead of looking for college rank, I suggest you read something with more credence, like how cow flatulence ruins the quality of the air we breathe to the point that Armageddon is just over the horizon.

To get their rankings, says the magazine, “college presidents, provosts, and admission deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges that are making improvements in academics, faculty, students, campus life, diversity, and facilities.”

The magazine  believes that these people offer objective assessments on their competition. Are you kidding me? Colleges are a business, and in business there is constant pressure to beat the other guy. Sometimes to a pulp. How’s that objective?

Try this gem of incredulity:

“We believe strongly that the opinions that high schools counselors, who play a key role in the college admission process, have about the merits of the nation’s leading colleges will provide a very valuable source of information for prospective students, their parents, and our readers.”

The ratio of students-to-guidance counselors in this country, according to one study, is 476-to-1, and US News would have you believe that ONE guidance counselor has the unique ability to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of at least 476 students at one time. That’s with teens who have no family problems or adolescent issues (On what planet does this reality exist?).

To illustrate just how out of touch professional educators are with your teen’s college needs, the American School Counselor Association recommends a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:250. Are you feeling better that they’re not recommending, say,  an unforgiving cut-back to 1:350 from 1:476?

I wonder how focused and undistracted the students and guidance counselors were at Gloucester High School when ten teenage girls became pregnant at the same time. I wonder how focused guidance counselors are when they submit transcripts too late for a student to get into his or her first-choice college – parents tell me this horror story all the time.

You can find the stark-naked truth about guidance counselors here. By contrast, I work with no more than 25 students a year in my coaching-and-marketing capacity.

US News & World Report’s information on college rank is irrelevant, misunderstood, distracting, and a speed-bump on the road to getting useful information. Instead, you can start here.
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