Do College Rankings Really Matter?


While many students study hard to get into the “top” ranked schools, it is question whether the rankings are accurate after all.

Fall is here, and with it comes the stresses of the ACT, AP classes, extracurriculars, and for seniors, the dreaded college applications. With just one year left at Mercy, the thought of college is looming in the back of seniors’ minds. For many Mercy girls, the high school years all come down to one thing: preparing for college.

While many students study hard to get into the "top" ranked schools, some people question whether the rankings are accurate after all.

In the search for the ‘perfect’ college, plenty of students take rankings intohigh account. U.S News & World Report and Forbes are two of the best known publications used by students to compare colleges. They have traditionally had the reputation of being the most reliable for college rankings, but many experts are starting to question the validity of the publication’s claims.

“The rankings exacerbate the status anxiety that afflicts so many high school students. The singleinded goal of too many high school students – pushed by parents, guidance counselors and society itself – is to get into a “good” school. Those who don’t land a prestigious admission feel like failures,” said Kevin Carey, education policy director at New America Foundation.

The stresses of getting into a “top” school are real for many, but are those schools truly the best? The New York Times reported earlier this year that Claremont McKenna College, a well known school in California, falsified their SAT scores in order to move up in the rankings. Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Baylor University have also allegedly changed their numbers.

While a college’s rank may be something to consider when choosing a school, many other factors should be taken into account. Things like student life, opportunities available at the school, majors offered, and graduation rates should also play a big part when determining what college to attend.

“College rankings are important to me, but when it comes down to it I really just want to go to a school that is best for me and the major that I plan to study,” said junior Gina Ruggirello.