Why one author has had it with rankings

graduation

Kit from Pittsburgh, USA via Wikimedia Commons

Success at this has little to do with rankings

Tired of college rankings?

Zac Bissonnette sure is.

The author of Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parentscalled by a Washington Post writer the best and most unsettling college admissions book ever — says he has found five reasons why the rankings are full of it.

He has a few no-duh arguments and misses the point once or twice, but he does have a few interesting things to say — mostly about methodology.

His five reasons:

1. College rankings are often based on opinion and not actual data.

2. Rankings can be based on factors that have no demonstrated impact on academic results.

3. The benefits of attending a more selective college might very well be canceled out by the benefits of attending a less selective college.

4. Rankings that look at career earnings fail to consider the aptitudes of students.

5. Real experts — as opposed to people trying to sell magazines full of car ads — who look into this stuff have realized you can’t compare colleges in any meaningful way.

  • wbgleason

    People who totally dismiss rankings are making a mistake.

    Data is there that can be helpful in making decisions.

    For example, graduation rates. If you know nothing else about a school and it has a graduation rate of 80% and another one has a rate of 40%, this is useful information to use in deciding which of them is a better choice.

    Now to claim that school A rated #11 is better than school B rated #12 is, of course, absurd.