Registration for US 2019 is now open          
University News
View all

College Rankings: Don’t Get Caught Up in Hype


It’s college ranking season again.

US News & World Report released its list today; Forbes and The Princeton Review began promoting their “Best College” picks last week. For many students and their families, the lists spur confusion, an unwelcome addition to the already stressful college application process. So do yourself a favor. Relax, take a deep breath, and vow to avoid the hype and hoopla.

Just as no single factor determines a student’s admission decision, you should not apply to a college based solely on its national rankings.

One reason? Lists of the country’s “best” colleges and universities tend to reduce and simplify complex concepts, according to a 2011 NACAC report on the issue. Important factors, such as learning outcomes and student engagement, are often overlooked, in part because no such data is available on a comparable basis.

And perhaps more importantly, a college’s rank cannot predict the type of experience you will have after you enroll.

Fully engaging in academic and campus life is the best way to make the most out of your college years, students report. So instead of poring over lists of college rankings, take some time this fall to ponder the factors — from location to academic offerings — that matter most to you.

Create a college list that reflects those elements, make campus visits, and trust your gut. Ultimately, your No. 1 college is the school that’s the best fit for you.