With the usual rankings-related caveats in mind, I was drawn to this little article in U.S. News & World Report on which schools are ranked higher by high-school counselors than their peers.
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota topped the list of colleges with a greater repuation among counselors than of peer colleges. It had the greatest disparity (149 places) between the counselors’ ranking (89) and that of college officials (238).
The University of St. Thomas came in third, with a disparity of 83 places. That difference, along with the second-ranked institution, is far lower than the St. Mary’s disparity.
No Minnesota schools made the second ranking, which showed the opposite disparity — which schools were ranked higher by college officials than by high-school counselors.
But Stony Brook University in New York, where University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler previously served as provost, is ranked 12th.
Here’s what the magazine has to say about the pattern in the disparities:
The universities that are more highly ranked by high school counselors are generally either smaller research universities or schools that have heavy concentrations of programs in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). The universities that are more highly ranked by college officials than by high school counselors are all very large public universities—in some cases the top “flagship” public in their state.
For National Universities, the U.S. News ranking formula gives the high school counselor reputation a weight of 7.5 percent in the rankings, and the academic reputation peer score has a weight of 15 percent in the overall ranking model. Peer assessments are subjective, but they are also important because a diploma from a distinguished college helps graduates get good jobs or gain admission to top-notch graduate programs.
Could one come to the conclusion that those two Minnesota colleges are underrated because of a grad-school bias of college officials? Not sure what to make of it.