US News and World Report Rankings Need Changes

There have been a lot of questions about the new college rankings, particularly what sort of methodology was used to assess hundreds of schools throughout the country. Although there’s an entire school of thought on the efficacy of the rankings themselves, these criteria should at the very least be modified. One of the key criteria that should be factored into these rankings is post-graduation statistics, namely what students are doing from these prestigious colleges after they graduate.

Much information could be gleaned by adding an additional category on post-graduation employment and/or statistics on graduate school entry. Adding an additional category would reflect a college’s ultimate purpose, i.e. providing employment opportunities and/or graduate program opportunities.

There are two reasons why adding this criteria into the rankings would be helpful: (1) this information would show the public exactly what the graduates do after college, and (2) it would create an incentive for colleges to improve their career services and graduate program counseling. If a parent were comparing two top schools, let’s say Cornell University and Washington University in St. Louis (both ranked 12th respectively), would it not serve the public well to know which school provides its graduates better career opportunities and/or graduate program opportunities?

Further, colleges have for generations been adjusting their core curriculum and based on the U.S. News rankings. Whether this is a good or bad thing could be debated for just as long. However, if parents are going to spend 40 to 50 thousand dollars per year on their son or daughter’s education, it would be helpful to know what exactly their son or daughter will do after graduation.

The U.S. News Rankings do provide valuable information on colleges, both public, private, as well as liberal arts and graduate schools. But the methodology could be improved with additional criteria like graduation statistics specific to employment and further education pursued by students. This addition would create major incentives to improve student resources, would give valuable information to parents and students and lastly, would provide a greater ability for parents to differentiate these schools.

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