Every year, various magazines publish their college rankings issues. These rankings often get a lot of attention from the media, colleges and college-bound students and their parents. In fact, these rankings may be the first thing students think about when beginning their college research and even when ultimately deciding where to attend. But should these rankings really have any influence on what college you choose? What are they really telling you?
But just because a magazine says that a particular college is "number one" doesn't mean that it would be a good fit for you. A college ranking compares colleges based on different criteria - academics, sports, food, dorm rooms, etc. You may find that the college of your dreams is ranked number one, number 10, or not at all, depending on which list you are looking at. There are four major college rankings and guides, each of which uses different criteria and multiple resources when determining their rankings:
1. U.S. News & World Report ranks colleges based on selectivity, alumni donations and opinions of high school guidance counselors. 2. Forbes ranks colleges based on post-graduate success, student satisfaction and student debt. 3. The Princeton Review ranks schools into 62 different categories. These categories range from academic (best professors) to silly (best parties). 4. Newsweek consists of 12 lists, that includes things like “Most Desirable” or “Schools for Brainiacs” and ranks the top 25 in each. It also takes into account the academic qualifications of their admitted students and the school’s endowment.