March 16, 2018

Credit: AP Photo / Gregory Payan

In 1983, U.S. News & World Report began to rank America’s colleges. More than 30 years later, they continue to release yearly lists of the “best” schools in the U.S. We talk with Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik and U.S. News’ Robert Morse about how these rankings have shaped how students select colleges in America.

Three Takeaways:

  • Jaschik, the CEO and Editor of Inside Higher Ed, believes the rankings oversimplify the college selection process. Instead of just looking at numerous ratings, he says, students and parents should visit schools and think about individual interests, strengths, and preferences, in order to find the right fit.
  • Since 1987, Robert Morse has served as the chief data strategist at U.S. News. He doesn’t believe that the rankings he helps produce should be the only factor that students consider. But he does think that aggregating data is crucial, and such data can help fill a void for students who don’t have the luxury of individual college counselling.
  • College rankings aren’t just popular with students and parents — they affect school administrators, too. In 2012, Claremont McKenna admitted that its dean of admissions had inflated the school’s SAT scores for years.

More Reading:

college, U.S. News and World Report, Robert Morse, Scott Jaschik, college rankings, Claremont McKenna, SAT

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