US News College Ratings: Complete Bullshit?

When I think back to my college search process, I can remember combing through books and magazines that my parents shoved in my face that ranked every aspect of a college from the biggest party school to the average parental income of students. Although I always had my mind set on venturing out of the Midwest and to school in upstate New York, I still enjoyed reading through the miniscule details of schools I had applied to.

Most high school juniors or seniors take a glance at these ratings materials, at least once, in the decision making process. College is a huge, life-changing decision and with tuition constantly increasing, it is so important for everyone involved to make the right choice. For that reason, the information should be completely accurate and credible. Well, it turns out that one ratings system in particular, the U.S. News and World Report, may be a glorified “beauty contest.”

Dozens of schools have recently refused to fill out the surveys from this weekly news magazine. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “recent events have rallied opposition, including the tying of presidential pay to ranking at Arizona State University and accusations by the president of Sarah Lawrence College that the magazine threatened to use hocus-pocus data to stand in for average SAT scores at the school.”

I’d say that’s a pretty big red flag if the editors of a rankings report are threatening to make up SAT scores, or giving higher rankings to a school due to how much their presidents get paid.

My advice: Go to all your schools and visit, get a feel of the campus and see where you feel the most comfortable. Because in the long run, the only person that can tell what is best for YOU. Not the editors of some questionable rating system.

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