I have a love-hate relationship with college rankings. I know that many families rely on them to guide a college list and sometimes an ultimate enrollment decision. I also know how arbitrary they are. When we learned last week that the University of Oklahoma had been removed from the U.S. News & World Report college rankings due to over-inflating their data for the past 20 years, I felt sick to my stomach because this isn't the first time colleges have lied to move up in the rankings.
But ever since the admissions scandal broke this spring, everything surrounding the college admissions process is heightened. Who can families turn to when they need help building a list of colleges or determining what is the best match for their child?
2. Common Data Set
3. Rugg's Recommendations
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5. College Visits
What I have learned in my career in college admissions is that the people and resources I trust are those that have no reason to lie or withhold information. Student reviews, the Common Data Set, and even Rugg's famous lists of colleges (which I love!), have their limits. In the end, the most powerful rankings are those created by the student after visiting each college on their list, weighing what is truly important to them, and choosing the place that will continue to give back to them for many years to come. While it is tempting to look at the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Forbes' list, or Princeton Review's list, they are made for the masses. Your college choice should be made for you.