Claremont McKenna College, in California, acknowledged this week that for six years, an admissions officer had fudged its SAT scores, used in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. The reporting of falsely inflated scores is believed to have raised the college’s rankings. Do rankings matter to you? Why do they play such a large role in admissions? When you think about prospective schools, how much do you care about their rankings?
The mixed feelings in the academic world were summed up in a report last year by the National Association for College Admission Counseling: Most college admissions officers and high school counselors have a low opinion of the U.S. News rankings, yet they use the published material, whether to gather information about other schools or to market their own.
Students: Tell us how you feel about college rankings. Are they a significant factor when you are considering a college? Would a high average SAT score, for instance, deter you from applying to a college? Do you think numerical data matter more than other factors like a school’s overall reputation? Why are rankings so powerful? Should the system be changed?