Sunday, August 22, 2010

U.S. News college rankings

Tuesday was when the U.S. News college rankings came out: Harvard is yet again the top. Princeton is in second place … once more. On a podium bearing a distinct Ivy League bias, Yale is number three. Those are just the national college rankings: A predictable list of well-moneyed heavyweights that is often criticized as meaningless by folks in academia. However, the U.S. News Best Colleges 2011 offers a useful matrix that students and parents can use to help decide which school is best for them, despite the fact that some higher education pundits would disagree.

U.S. News vs. World Report

The U.S. News college rankings sort schools into categories for comparison. The highest level of degrees conferred by discipline is how the Best Colleges 2011 groups all of the colleges and universities in America. The four main categories, National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges, were what the 1,400 and more schools were divided into. Regional categories were essential for Regional Universities and Regional colleges using North, West, South and Midwest as the categories. Each school had data on 16 indicators of academic quality gathered. The total score is how colleges get ranked.

General Motors returns towards the black side of the books

Higher education has many things such as the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Because of the Princeton top party schools, the Princeton Review is noticed with its comprehensive evaluation of schools. Usually there is more seriousness when referring to the U.S. News Best Colleges 2011. CNN’s MoneyWatch had Lynn O’Shaughnessy say the whole thing is a joke. She writes that U.S. News doesn’t try to measure the type of learning taking place at schools across the country. Instead U.S. News and World Report is simply conducting a high-stakes beauty contest, where 25 percent of each school’s score is depending solely on its reputation.

Important to remember value

U.S. News college rankings have put either Harvard or Princeton in the number 1 spot for 10 years. David Gura at NPR explains that getting on top with college rankings doesn’t matter to most. Colleges have less money, making for spending budget cuts and enrollment caps. There is a wider range of students applying. College admissions are more competitive than ever. Ranking a college for the U.S. News involves considering alumni giving, faculty resources, freshman retention, graduation and academic reputation. But within the increasingly costly world of higher education, finding value is still one of probably the most important — if not the most essential — factors in choosing a school

Further reading

U.S. News and World Report

CBS Money Watch

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