Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Magazine rankings can be a guide to variety of higher education possibilities
Each year when the U.S. News and World Report annual college rankings come out there is a gnashing of teeth in the media and on college campuses about the publication's methods and metrics in the ranking process.
Granted, the annual "beauty contest" fails to take into account the true quality of education at an institution and there is little data to support the magazine's conclusions. Schools are accused of playing the system to raise their place in the rankings and the publication stops short of providing information about learning or future employment outcomes. The use of peer assessments and high school counselor input is suspect in the opinion of many college presidents.
Competition among colleges and universities is fierce, and they use elements of these reports as a measure of their success and as a marketing tool. They tout the fact that the rankings indicate the quality of their faculty and the student body.
Here are some examples of the overall rank and admissions rates of a variety of top schools:
- Indiana University is ranked 75, with a 76 percent admissions rate.
- Purdue is ranked 65, with a 61 percent admissions rate.
- Notre Dame is ranked 18, with a 21 percent admission rate.
- Harvard is ranked number two, with a 6 percent admission rate.
- Princeton is ranked number one, with a 7 percent admissions rate.
Despite the negative assessment of the annual rankings report by many, college rankings can be an important consideration for the college applicant for a number of reasons.
For example, admission selectivity rates are often used by companies and organizations as a gauge in recruiting employees. When employers are considering new hires, the years of hard work and preparation that precede admission to a top college are taken into consideration. These student will have had high scores on entrance examinations and have an exemplary extracurricular activity record. After all, these companies are putting their futures in the hands of these new recruits.
And, translated into practical terms, if you will be applying for a summer internship during your college years, the selectivity of your college can be a huge advantage. To get an internship at one of the top firms is not easy. The profile of the successful internship candidate is heavily skewed toward students at schools that score well in the rankings. Companies know that top colleges already have done much of the work for them by vetting students through the competitive application process. It is a fact that many students are offered full-time employment after completing summer internships.
To be sure, magazine rankings are not perfect predictors of future employment success but they can provide a guide to the variety of higher education possibilities for parents and students. You will need to supplement that knowledge with other resources that will give you a complete picture of the college experience at each school.
Applicants will then have the responsibility to make sure that their college choice and that school's academic offerings are a "good fit" for their career aspirations.
The best advice you can get is from an expert college consultant like Gerald Bradshaw. Ignore the exaggerated U.S. News rankings. If you want to find rankings of American colleges and universities ask Gerald Bradshaw.
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