College rankings make for good press -- but that's all.
Despite many people's attempts to quantify colleges according to certain characteristics, responsible educators agree that those characteristics do not add up to any meaningful measures of quality or excellence. Further, publishing such misleading information and making a national event of it encourages colleges to shade the truth and to focus on the wrong factors in accepting students. For example, instead of accepting a wonderful trombone player who might have an average SAT score, colleges are pushed to accept students for no better reason than high test scores, regardless of any other qualities.
Ranking, in addition to being statistically impossible, distorts the entire admissions process.
Every student is an individual with individual needs in regard to friends, campus atmosphere, faculty attention, and available facilities. What is a great college for one student can be a disaster for another.
Peterson's does not believe in college rankings.
Peterson's believes in providing detailed and accurate information on all US-accredited colleges so that students and their families can make intelligent decisions based on a true examination of what each college has to offer matched against what each student needs and wants. Peterson's major reference work -- The Guide to Four-Year Colleges -- has extensive and detailed information on all accredited colleges, allowing full exploration across the spectrum. If you are interested in such a book, please visit our On-Line Store or ask for it in a local bookstore (ISBN 0-7689-0194-4, 3,257 pages, $26.95 paperback, 30th edition).
Have an opinion on college rankings?
We want to hear from you! Send your comments on this topic to firstname.lastname@example.org.