United States News comes out with their list of best colleges every year. For incoming beginner and eager graduate students, college ranking websites can play a crucial role in assisting which college they want to attend.
Today most of students or student parents research about colleges and university but don’t give them too much attention. Don’t replace self-reflection and research with college or university ranking to decide where you apply and attend. Using them mindlessly could contribute to an expensive, time-consuming mistake. Misleading yourself to the rankings’ stains leads to poor decisions. Consider this partial list of limitations:
1. Today’s ranking don’t measure accurately what’s relevant to students.
2. Overall rankings hide strengths and weaknesses in particular sections of college. Gem programs thrive outside “the top ten” or “top twenty.” MBA students accomplish their goals and gain acceptance or have a better chance of obtaining financial aid when they recognize those gems.
3. Averages are same that average. They are not a cut-off and don’t reflect extenuating factors or the interplay between variable factors in an admissions decision. Candidates are allowed with below average stats and are denied with above average stats.
4. Surveys, especially surveys of students and alumni (as used by Businessweek, Financial Times, The Economist and education news) can be gamed. Students and alumni know that top rankings increase the marketability of their degrees and have an incentive to think kindly of their schools.
5. Survey respondents are not always well informed ( Today scientists saying most of the survey respondents don’t know review but doing for money). Survey respondents don’t necessarily know about new developments and new programs at the schools they are ranking. They are opening based on what they experienced years ago and heard.
6. For those rankings that survey recruiters (Businessweek), realize that recruiters may value factors that you couldn’t care less about (e.g., excellent service for recruiters, top MBAs willing to work for low pay, comfortable interview rooms, etc.)
7. The raw rankings don’t show the degree of difference between the different schools. For example, there could be a real difference in international or even national opportunity in a program ranked 25th as exposed to 5th. There is a reasonably little difference in overall opportunity for a program ranked 8th as engaged to 13th.
8. ROI rankings may reflect geographic differences or differences in starting salaries in particular industries more than educational quality.
Rankings are surveys spiced with data that frequently mirror commonly held beliefs about institutions. Reputation and brand can play a role in your application and acceptance decisions, but they should never be the primary reason you apply and accept an offer of admission. After you research a school’s strengths and weaknesses, admitted student profiles, culture, educational approach and educational and professional opportunities, then you can consider the brand.
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