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Reading the College Rankings

Jun 27, 2022

Reading the College Rankings

My best advice is:  Please don’t read the rankings.

But everyone does. Right?  Even counselors who don’t believe in rankings read them.

The rankings are based on a series of statistics that are submitted each year by the colleges and if you know anything about statistics, the numbers can be manipulated. 

Year after year, the same universities seem to be ranked in the exact order as the year before, many coming out on top year after year, and you know which universities those are.

So everyone applies to those universities and the rate of admission keeps getting lower and lower.  This applies to excellent universities with top ranked dance programs as well.  

All based on statistics. 

College rankings are all based on statistics. And what are some of those statistics?

  • Class size
  • Student engagement
  • Percentage of Faculty with terminal degrees
  • Applicant Pool vs Rate of Admission
  • Ethnicity
  • Diversity of student population

All of these statistics can be manipulated. 

A university might even actively recruit students so their applicant pool is increased, but they still are accepting the same number of students; hence, the percentage of accepted students goes down!  

What to do? 

Sure, read the rankings, just to get a diverse list of universities where you would like to apply, but then do your research! 

What programs are available within your state system?  After you have investigated those, then start to research schools outside of your immediate area and thoroughly check those out. It is absolutely worth the time and effort you put in this process.

Then, create a spreadsheet of your own to compare and contrast the best choice colleges for you.  We do have a spreadsheet created for you on our site if you want to use one that has already been created.  Check it by joining our (free) program here


Photo Credit: Tommy Kwak

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