Here's a post for the students, parents, counselors, wise aunties and uncles, and everyone else out there who thinks that college rankings matter. Yes, there's a whole lotta hubbub about college rankings. Sure, it's helpful to get input from an external source... and we wouldn't want you to depend solely on any college's shiny publications to do all the talking. That being said, do the rankings actually matter? No.
The college search shouldn't be about comparing one college's rank to another - it should be about finding a place that's going to nurture your interests and prepare you for the future you've imagined for yourself. Who cares whether a college is ranked #3, or #19, or #157 - what matters is the experience you'll have. And, goodness, what a mess the Admissions Committee would be in if we only admitted students who came from the top-ranked high schools, or only admitted students ranked #1 in the class! We, too, would be missing out on some true gems if we didn't take the time to dig a little deeper.
That being said... though a college's position on the rankings might not matter, you might find it helpful to research the various factors that determine a school's position on a ranked list. Most ranking models take into account a lot of different variables, from alumni loyalty to sustainability to graduates' income levels. Ask yourself if those things matter to you, and if they do, do some more research! Other rankings seem a little unfounded... like campus beauty! Sure, we're glad to show up on those lists, and we might even boast about it, but who's really the arbiter of beauty/awesome social life/other-subjective-quality besides you?
So, instead of relying on the rankings, just do a little more research. Trust us, treating the rankings as gospel will only give you a headache. Sure, you might catch us tooting our horns when we think a ranking is particularly legit, ridiculous, or appropriate for our community... but that doesn't mean it should be the only way you choose which college to attend.
(Now, watch... the next blog post will be about a new college ranking, like the Forbes list that came out today... ha! Shows what we know, eh?)