The 2010 US News college rankings are now available. As is typical of these college rankings, there are no real surprises in this years rankings. Yes, some colleges have moved up or down a position or two but nothing earth shattering.
The reality is that the quality of a particular college almost never changes from year to year. The factors that US News uses in their college rankings may change or they may change the weight they give to a particular factor but the colleges themselves change very slowly.
Of course, the other issue that I have addressed on many occasions is that the issue of what the best college is depends on what a student is looking for in a college. For instance, getting personalized attention from actual professors who might write a recommendation for graduate or professional school can provide a better education than a fancy college name.
Use the US News college rankings to identify colleges that have criteria in which you might have an interest. Looking for a particular range of SAT scores? Looking for colleges that have high alumni contribution rates that may indicate people happy with the education they received? Looking for high graduation rates? Those are all legitimate things to consider using US News college data.
But don’t worry about whether number 1 is better than number 2. The answer, regardless of what colleges you are discussing, is that there is no way to draw that kind of distinction between otherwise similar colleges. As I said last year,
These rankings always have been designed with the desired result in mind. Generally, the well known, wealthy colleges, will do well.
I know based on comments from readers that many of you anxiously await these rankings every year. Have fun in reviewing the rankings but use them to find the best college for your needs and don’t worry about the artificially created rankings of US News.