Colleges are quitting US News rankings. How should you pick a school?

  • More than a dozen medical schools and more than 40 laws schools say they will no longer provide information to U.S. News & World Report for its rankings of colleges.
  • Independent, reliable sources of information about colleges, however, can be difficult to come by.
  • What’s worse, information higher education institutions provide about themselves to the public – their costs, postgraduate placement rates, whether credits will transfer – has historically been, and in many cases still is, not accurate.

The dean of Harvard Medical School was emphatic and unambiguous when he announced in January that it would end its participation in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

“Rankings cannot meaningfully reflect the high aspirations for educational excellence, graduate preparedness, and compassionate and equitable patient care that we strive to foster,” Dean George Daley wrote.

Harvard thereby became one of more than a dozen medical schools and more than 40 law schools ranked by U.S. News in the span of a few months that have said they will no longer provide information to the outlet, which has ranked colleges and graduate programs since 1983. They say the rankings formula discouraged them from admitting promising graduates of less-prestigious colleges who hadn’t performed as well on entrance tests as applicants from top schools, and that they were penalized in the rankings when their graduates chose careers in public service over more lucrative options. 

Francis McGee

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