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Beware collegesí rank deceptions (Can you trust the Best College Rankings?)
New York Post ^ | 09/19/2012 | NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY

Posted on 09/19/2012 8:14:01 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

What should students want in a college? Good teachers, intellectual stimulation, ample job opportunities, friends for life, a good value for the money. What do professors and administrators want? A large endowment, a big library, the smartest students, high faculty salaries and prestigious awards.

The interests of the kids and the grown-ups are rarely aligned on college campuses these days. And the US News & World Report Best College Rankings measures the things the professors and administrators care about — not the ones the students should.

Last month’s news that Emory University had sent US News falsified data raised old question on the rankings. How many other schools make up numbers? We know college officials rank other schools lower just to boost their own position. Admissions officers encourage kids who are not qualified to apply, because rejecting more students improves the school’s “selectivity” rating.

Universities cap some class sizes at 19 students to earn “small class” points in the survey. They add more volumes to their library and tell recent alums to give just $5 to boost their “participation” rate — all to climb the US News rankings, all to keep higher-ed insiders happy.

But last week, a new ranking hit the market. It ranks Harvard 37th in the country — and no, it’s not a Yalie plot.

The new company Alumni Factor used interviews with 42,000 graduates of 177 elite colleges to come up with its list. Washington & Lee topped it, with Yale, Princeton, Rice and the College of the Holy Cross close behind.

Alumni were asked about several ways in which their schools impacted their lives — how well college prepared them for a career and provided job opportunies; if it nurtured friendships; if it stimulated their intellectual, social and spiritual development;

(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: college; ranking

1 posted on 09/19/2012 8:14:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

All I know is my daughter is a freshman in a Va state college where she just joined the “Campus GOP”! She takes macroecon, stats, geology and some other math course. She’s on the tennis team that is loaded with conservative girls. No “Puppetry 101” or “Lesbian Studies” courses for her!


2 posted on 09/19/2012 8:38:04 AM PDT by albie
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To: SeekAndFind

Following is a considered response to the rankings game:

Why You May Not Find St. John’s College in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings

Letter from our presidents to U.S. News and World Report regarding the college rankings.

St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico, has chosen not to participate in any collegiate rankings surveys. We have asked U.S. News and World Report not to include the College, and we have not sent current information for use in the survey. St. John’s College is opposed in principle to rankings. We want to explain to you some of our reasons: Rankings do a disservice to students and their parents as they search for the best college.

Making a decision about where to spend those four years is a serious and difficult one: we think that you need to know more about a college than the numbers used to come up with the survey results can provide. Rankings are almost always about popularity, prestige, and perceived quality of education, but they say virtually nothing about what happens after a student enrolls, that is, nothing about the educational experience itself.

Rankings attempt to quantify the value of an education. Although the collection and publication of information about such things as location, class size and programs offered is useful to students and their parents, the statistics used in the rankings do not offer that kind of information. How can the interaction between faculty and students be quantified? What kind of numbers tell you about the interests students discover as they explore new ideas and participate in scholastic and extracurricular programs? Do statistics reflect the skills in thinking, writing and analysis that students develop during the course of a well-designed and cohesive program of study?

Over the years, St. John’s College has been ranked everywhere from the third tier, to the second, to the first, to the “Top 25” among national liberal arts colleges. Yet we haven’t changed. Our mission and our methods have been virtually constant for almost 60 years. We would rather be ourselves and have our college speak for itself, than be a part of this fluctuating outside analysis. The distinctiveness of each individual college and the diversity among them tend to be lost in a scale of “best-good-worse.” Research university or small liberal arts college? Religious affiliation or pre-professional training? Core curriculum or a multitude of majors? America’s colleges offer all of these. A college that is exactly right for a particular student— in its mission, mode of teaching, location, moral or religious character— might receive a lower rank in the survey than a college which would not suit the needs of that student.

The kinds of data used to rank schools in the U.S. News and World Report survey are not indications of educational excellence. Some results highlight competitiveness, particularly in admissions. Examples are the acceptance to rejection ratio among applicants, average SAT scores, and class rank. Endowment per undergraduate, faculty salaries, alumni giving are indications of fiscal status, not necessarily of quality of education. So-called reputation rankings—in which college presidents, deans, and admissions officers rate other schools—are also misleading; they may overlook a fine but little-known college, and even if they do point out a good one, they do not tell you for whom that school is a good choice and why.

http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/about/rankings.shtml


3 posted on 09/19/2012 8:38:05 AM PDT by ThirdMate
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To: SeekAndFind

Our local college, Emory University, admitted they intentionally lied on the reports for the college rankings and after admitting their deception they still made the newest list of best colleges.


4 posted on 09/19/2012 9:17:36 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: SeekAndFind

Great. A new college rankings company issues its first report based on questioning about 200 graduates each from schools (”did your school nurture friendships?).


5 posted on 09/19/2012 9:21:24 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

My sister went to Emory as an undergrad and Berkeley as a grad student. Both were equally Leftwing. My Conservative parents paid big bucks to send her to Emory in Atlanta where she was taught everything opposed by her paying parents. She became a lifelong Liberal. That scenario has been repeated by countless parents who pay to have their children subverted by self-interest and trendy Liberalism.


6 posted on 09/19/2012 9:36:18 AM PDT by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American that a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: ThirdMate

I have a number of “Johnnie” friends and deeply appreciate their intelligence and humor. I myself went to a very fancy school, but I’d like to say that the smartest, hardest working kids I’ve known as a group - as a generalization - went to a college I’ve never even visited... Hillsdale.


7 posted on 09/19/2012 10:00:31 AM PDT by golux
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To: SeekAndFind

Isn’t soliciting applications also a profit center for school, because they charge you just to look at it?


8 posted on 09/19/2012 10:31:21 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: albie
She takes macroecon [...]

Depending on the department, that may cause contact with the deadly Keynsean strain of Toxoplasmosis. Be sure she takes a Micro course, which has been known to work as an antidote.

If she wants to get into Econ in some depth, a good overview is given by Mark Skousen in his The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers. I have it as a Kindle ebook.

9 posted on 09/19/2012 12:36:58 PM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: Erasmus

Thanks for the info. She will be taking a “micro” course next semester.


10 posted on 09/19/2012 12:59:55 PM PDT by albie
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