Every year, college rankings come out, and students and their families freak out. The problem is that these rankings are completely bogus and don’t accurately portray the truth about colleges and universities.
So why do students and their families care so much about them? I think it has to do with the fact that college is a big investment. Tuition, room and board, and other fees can easily add to tens of thousands per year. And for most people, that’s a lot of money. So when you’re making such a big investment, you want to be sure that you’re getting a good return on your investment.
The Problem with Rankings
The problem is that college rankings don’t measure the things that matter most. For example, they might look at the average SAT scores of incoming students. But they don’t look at how well those students do once they attend. So colleges and universities with lower average SAT scores might be a better choice than one with higher average SAT scores because the students at the first school are more likely to succeed.
The same goes for student-to-faculty ratios and other measures of academic quality. These things might give you some idea about the university, but they don’t necessarily tell you how well students do once they’re there.
What’s more, colleges and universities are always changing. A school that was a great choice for someone in your parent’s generation might not be the best choice. So it’s important to look at the most recent data when deciding on your list of colleges.
At the end of the day, the best way to choose a college or university is to visit the campus and talk to current students. That way, you can see whether it’s a good fit for you. College news rankings could be a starting point but should not be the final word.
Here’s why you shouldn’t trust them:
1. College Rankings are Based on a Limited Amount of Data
The data that college rankings are based on is extremely limited. For example, they don’t consider things such as the quality of teaching, the happiness of students, or how much students grow while they’re in college.
There are a lot of things that college rankings don’t take into consideration. The data they’re basing their rankings on is extremely limited, and those factors are important in determining whether or not a college is truly great.
If college rankings only looked at a few data points, they would be much more accurate. However, they try to rank colleges on various factors, which often makes them inaccurate. Students need to remember this when they’re looking at college rankings. They shouldn’t put too much stock into them, as they often don’t tell the whole story.
2. Rankings Don’t Consider the Student Body as a Whole
College rankings also don’t consider the student body as a whole. They might look at things like SAT scores and GPAs, but they don’t look at the distribution of those scores. This means that a university with a higher average SAT score might be a worse fit for you than a school with a lower average SAT score. College rankings also don’t account for the fact that some majors are more difficult than others. A university might have a high average SAT score, but if most of those students are majoring in easy majors, it’s not necessarily a great indicator.
Quality Counts For Something
They also don’t look at the quality of teaching or the student experience outside of academics. This is a big one! College is about so much more than academics; rankings don’t reflect that. So while college rankings can give you a general idea of how schools compare to each other, they shouldn’t be your only factor in deciding which school to apply to. Do your homework and get on campus to better understand which one is the best fit for you.
Prestige is also not everything. A university such as Princeton, with a great reputation, might not be the best fit. Consider all the factors important to you in a school before making your decision.
Finally, remember that you are more than a number. College rankings should only be one part of your college search. Don’t let them stress you out!
3. College Rankings Don’t Consider Your Personal Preferences
What might be a great fit for one might not be a great fit for another. College rankings don’t consider your personal preferences, so they might recommend schools you hate. It’s important to do your discovery to find a college or university that’s the right fit for you.
Consider Many Factors First
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a college, and rankings are just one of them. Don’t let rankings be the only thing that influences your decision. Make sure to visit potential schools, talk to students and faculty, and get a feel for the campus culture before you make your final decision.
Choosing a college is a big decision, but don’t let the pressure of rankings get to you. Find a college you’re comfortable with and can see yourself being happy at, and you’ll be set up for success.
Final Thoughts on College Rankings
College rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. If you’re looking at colleges, do significant research to find the right fit, the best colleges, for you – don’t just rely on the rankings.
Take a Deep Dive
It’s important to remember that college rankings are based on limited data. They don’t consider the student body as a whole, and they don’t consider your personal preferences. If you’re looking at the best colleges, research to find the right fit – don’t just rely on the rankings. Read more about thoughts on the Top 3 Reasons Not to Trust Rankings from the Georgia Tech Admissions Blog.
There are a lot of different factors to consider when choosing colleges, and the rankings don’t always reflect what’s important to you. For example, if you want a small school with a close-knit community, you might not find that in the top-ranked colleges. Instead, you’ll need to look at other factors like size, location, and campus life to find the right school for you.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that college rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. They can give you a general idea of how colleges and universities compare, but they shouldn’t be the only factor in your school decision-making process. Do your research to find the best colleges for you.