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Monday, March 12, 2007

Finally...what many of us know makes it to the mainstream

A few years ago during a discussion about US News & World Report, a colleague pointed out some data that used in their "ranking" that was clearly wrong to anyone who has read up on admission practices. The school in question is besides the point. The point is that common sense told us that the statistic published was impossible to achieve.

There are plenty of admission officers out there who have probably seen similarly incorrect figures when scrutinizing the college ranking issue of US News. We wish we could just toss the issue in the recycling bin (or better yet, leave it on the newsstand), but because so many of our constituents, from prospective students and their families to our alumni, put so much emphasis on the rankings, we analyze and dissect the issue each year when it comes out.

It seems that the conversations that used to happen in our offices, behind closed doors, is going public. An op-ed by Michele Tolela Myers, the President of Sarah Lawrence, was published in The Washington Post yesterday. I have to admit that I haven't gotten through the Opinion section yet...it's still on my coffee table. However, Inside Higher Ed wrote a follow up on the op-ed, saying that other college presidents are circulating a letter suggesting that all colleges and universities stop cooperating with US News.

From the comments posted on the Post website, it seems that the average reader is hanging on Sarah Lawrence's specific case and doesn't realize that that school is just one example of incorrect data being used in determining US News rankings.