US News&World Report – what the rankings REALLY mean


In many ways, the rankings of US News and World Report no longer hold the prestige and sterling reputation it once did? Why? Because almost every college receives some ranking or the other by some group or the other. It is difficult to find an institution today that is has not received some ranking or the other. As a parent or a future student, such rankings boldly highlighted on college websites,give us a warm and fuzzy feeling. Of course, we say to ourselves, if this institution is ranked, by God it must be a good institution. Buyer Beware! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Recent rankings of US News and World Report identify institutions that would surprise even the faculty and students at these institutions. The education offered under the title of “world-class education” is neither world-class nor is it a strong education. No wonder employers complain that many of the graduates of today cannot write, lack critical thinking skills, and are poor problem-solvers. More important, at some of these institutions, exposing students to global issues and cultural understanding is anathema. Not only do these institutions not offer global programs, they actively work behind the scenes to discourage students from pursuing global opportunities. The Spellings report is telling in that the issues identified as roadblocks to preparing a highly educated global workforce have not changed in the last decade or so. So we must get beyond rankings. We must look closely at the criteria behind such rankings. Would the authors of the US News and World Report study send their kids to institutions that they rank as top 25 or top 50. I am quite confident that they would not. So look before you leap.


About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

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