U.S. News has now published their 2009 college rankings. As usual there are really no surprises in the rankings. Other than some cosmetic changes there really is not a lot to comment on.
I give my usual caveat when talking about any college ranking. There is no way to possibly rank any college as the best in the country. The criteria used to rank colleges by U.S. News results in the rankings discussed here but a minor change in how a category is considered can have dramatic effect. These rankings always have been designed with the desired result in mind. Generally, the well known, wealthy colleges, will do well.
As I reported earlier, U.S. News has added two new issues to consider in the rankings. Here are the results of the “Up and Coming Colleges” and “Guidance Counselor Recommended Programs“. I think the guidance counselor recommendations are particular worthless.
I know based on comments from readers that many have been anxiously waiting for the latest ratings. Go ahead and enjoy but please don’t get too wrapped up in the numbered ratings.
U.S. News rankings are basically a beauty contest that favor most monied institutions. It says practically nothing about the quality level of outputs at a given institution. Things such as research, the dollar value of competitive research grants won, etc.
Washington Monthly in some ways is as flawed as the U.S. News garbage, but they at least address the very important categories listed above.
If you added an appropriate measure to the U.S. News equation, the results would be far different.