10 colleges, including Columbia, now kicked off current U.S. News rankings

“U.S. News and World Report this month took 10 colleges off of its influential rankings for 2022, saying they had misreported data.”


Two schools often discussed on CC were also removed from the list - Villanova and Whitman. And UVA med school.


Net result that in the rankings of college rankings I now believe USNWR had slipped to third…

  1. Wall Street Journal
  2. Niche
  3. USNWR
  4. Forbes
  5. Princeton Review
  6. Washington Monthly
  7. Kiplinger
  8. College Factual
  9. Timers Higher
  10. College Raptor

Tongue in cheek intended. Reality is the college ranking people most care about is the one that ranks their school the highest. The combo of garbage in equals garbage out plus the commercial incentive to be dynamic and have controversy while not addressing the specifics of fit makes them a total waste.


Why does this matter? Our kids managed to choose great colleges without ever seeing or reading an edition of USNews.

The only ranking that really matters is the one your kids make.


I agree it isn’t wise to rely on these rankings, but in reality students and parents are heavily influenced by the rankings and that’s why schools are desperate to move up the rankings.


That’s not really typical, guidance counselors expect students and families to have seen some rankings and it’s usually US News, especially if they’re working with international students. They actually need to tell them that US News is not a sanctioned government ranking, even though it says US, but a private company. It’s used by Moodys, alumni care about them and I was talking with a professor who said academics also care about them, even if they don’t admit it publicly :-). Now admissions and presidents may not like them as much, agree.

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Maybe private counselors expect this. But school based counselors do not. I would guess most U.S. prospective college students likely don’t use USNews ranking at all.


They ought to have filters set up to allow subscribers to rank the schools according to the variables they find most important. You pay your $2.99, weight the variables you care about, and get your very own ranking based on the data USNews has compiled.

This would be an extra revenue stream for USNews, and allow customers to customize the ranking.




I suspect this is an incorrect guess. If it was accurate, colleges wouldn’t be so obsessed with the ranking and investing so much money and resources into catering toward the the ranking process. And it wouldn’t be worth it for schools like Columbia to cheat if most people didn’t pay attention to it.

The available evidence also suggests a lot of people are aware of and see the rankings. Google the name of any college in the USNWR ranking but don’t even reference ranking or USNWR – just the college name. In most cases the USNWR page about the college will be one of the first results, usually right after the college’s own website and maybe the wikipedia page. It wouldn’t rank so high in the Google filter if people weren’t visiting those pages.



The very vast majority of college students go to either their instate public universities, and community colleges, or colleges very close to home. It is my opinion that most of these students don’t take USNews rankings into consideration when choosing colleges.


To put a finer (and very honest) point on it, a lot of rich people, and a lot of people who might be on CC. Rich people=tuition dollars. If we are being honest, most colleges care a lot about this group of people. These are the same people who might care a lot about rankings.

I agree with @thumper1 because we know that most colleges in the US are not the highly rejective ones that everyone here wants to get into.




Submitting fake data is a big deal, in my opinion. I was never going to send my kids to Columbia anyway because it’s in NYC but now I’m definitely not since they’re doctoring up their data.


I don’t think there are many people who are thinking “oh, Columbia is not ranked. It must be a low tiered school.” I don’t think there are people thinking “I’m not applying to CU medical school because they got kicked off the rankings for bad data.”

And I think it is just that, bad data. Someone didn’t understand a question, or someone input data the wrong way. Did the school fail to include Perkins loans with other federal loans? Did they only pull loan info for those who graduated in 4 years and forget about those with 6 years of loans? Mistakes, and they shouldn’t happen, but I don’t think it will cause most people to reconsider an application or to reject the school because it is no longer #3 or even #103.

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Not really sure how to respond to this other than to refer you to the extraordinarily detailed and incriminating report put together by a Columbia professor that started all of this. This wasn’t an innocent misapprehension of the questions or data entry errors.



Perhaps the demographic of students aiming for the “best” residential colleges (i.e. most forum poster students) may look at rankings frequently.

But many college bound students just go to the local community college or state university, regardless of ranking. Most college bound students do not have the basic academic stats to make applying to the more selective and highly ranked colleges worthwhile.

My only beef with the WSJ is, if I’m recalling correctly, that they rank the LACs and research Us together.

I don’t think that makes sense myself.

And boy is this true:

Because the rankings have been shown to be generally recursive (i.e., higher ranked schools generate responses that further increase their rankings, lower ranked schools generate responses that further decrease their rankings), it wouldn’t require many people to shift their perceptions for real consequences to accrue across several years. Rather, real consequences could occur based on iterations of reactions to an initially small reaction.

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Thank you for that link. It’s the first time I have read the report. Very powerful and the best argument I have seen that the rankings are misleading, not just for Columbia but all other schools as well.

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