Beware the College Rankings Machine
The National Review Online has an illuminating article up pointing out the illogicality (and foolishness) of putting too much faith in the warped college rankings system. I’ve said about all I can say (using professional language) about the rankings, so I’ll hold back and let Frederick M. Hess and Thomas Gift from NRO speak wisely (and way more professionally) instead:
Some of the schools with higher rankings may truly have improved, but the most significant factor is that two of the Barron’s criteria — high-school grades and percentage of applicants accepted — don’t mean what they did a decade ago. Grade inflation, and students’ applying to more schools than they used to, have juiced the numbers to make students look more qualified and schools more selective.
Grade inflation, dubbed “high schools’ skeleton in the closet” by Lehigh University education professor Perry Zirkel, has been a creeping phenomenon for two decades.
Also, whereas college-bound students used to limit applications to a few top choices, it is not unusual for students today to apply to many more. UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute has reported that the percentage of high-school seniors who applied to four or more colleges increased by more than a quarter from 1996 to 2006 and now stands at over 60 percent….. when students in general submit more applications, colleges in general get to reject more applicants — making schools across the board more “selective” by the Barron’s criteria.
And that is why trusting the evil genius rankings machine is a mistake. Be aware of who’s in charge and make decisions accordingly.
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Posted by Alexa Harrington