Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
U.S. News’ annual college rankings are out. There are no big surprises.
How can I say this nicely? These rankings are bullsh**.
It would be interesting to re-run the analysis a million times, varying the data by, say 5% or 10%, as well as tweaking the weights randomly about their average value.
You would get a range of rankings for each school, and you would see how fuzzy the distinctions are.
And that doesn’t even get into the fundamental flaws with their analysis (what factors they chose to measure, what factors they left out, why the weights of each factor were chosen, and how can they validate that the output has any correlation to actual “education”)
The real under reported story is how many career fields fall off the table as a student moves down the list.
How many career fields are open to Harvard graduates (#1) that are not open to George Washington University graduates (#50). The worst part of the university rankings are the number of firms and human resources departments are using them to screen applicants.
The education received doesn’t always seem to fit with the ranking – I had a scholarship to a public land-grant ag school. I used a lot of my elective hours to bolster my science credentials, did research and an internship, etc. I went to grad school with students from Princeton and a few of the ‘public ivies’ and was astonished that they found our coursework so difficult – for me it was mostly a rapid-paced review. My undergrad faculty would meet us outside of office hours if we had questions, and TAs taught labs, not lecture classes. Fortunately, my husband and I are in STEM fields where productivity is more important than affiliation!
My school gots the top slot for “public” schools; the ratings are not el-toro-poopoo, Jab 🙂
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