2022 USNews Rankings posted

I also like the fact that Forbes has taken a different approach to their rankings, placing greater emphasis on outcomes and giving great public schools such as UC-Berkeley and UCLA their due.


Is the school close to, or in, a large metro area?

The problem with Forbes is their rankings change so much, because they are all over the place on their methodology. The only consistency with Forbes is that two surveys from now, the rankings will be very different. I remember my D was applying to a school that was #1 that year, then #20 two Forbes rankings later! Colleges can’t change that fast. It is crazy. You’d think after all these changes in methodology Forbes would be honing in on what they believe to be the best methodology. Instead, they will probably make wholesale changes again in two years rather than consistently making little tweaks to perfection. Kudos to Forbes for wanting to stress outcomes and including LACs, however, they’ve been terrible on execution.


You are assuming there is a significant difference between #1 and #20 when looking at thousands of schools.


Yes, I do think that is a giant move in too short of a period of time. Colleges and students discount Forbes, because they have no idea where they’ll be the next ranking.

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I think people on CC would be surprised how few people in the U.S. care about these rankings to begin with.


Yes, but not a state capitol or NYC, Chicago, or DC-sized. Mid-sized city, I would say.

Strong correlation with those that don’t attempt to attend a Top 50 university.

  • On average, parents expect to pay roughly 30% of their child’s college expenses.
  • On average, parents actually pay 10% of their child’s college expenses.

I hear what you’re saying and I agree.

But I also disagree, especially with this: They inflicted some serious harms to students and their families, to the college admission processes

I agree some students/families suffered/are suffering harms. However, I also think this mass obsession with rankings and the schools ranked the highest, offers an opportunity for students/families to exploit. Many do.

Many students apply to schools not as highly ranked, enjoy massive cost savings (via lower prices AND merit scholarships), get special attention, and end up with great educations and experiences that lead to great outcomes in the job market or in post-graduate studies.

This has been my stance for a while now. What difference is there between 5 and 45? I know recency (recent meaning the past 25 years) has a lot to do with it, because once USNWR rankings became popular, all of a sudden it became ludicrous to think 45 is about the same as 5. Today, starting with that position is a non-starter.

So I’ll start a bit further down and I’ll even start with publics. Can anyone truly say #20 UCLA is twice as good as #T38 Georgia Tech or UT-Austin? Is UCLA three times as good #60T Pittsburgh and UWashington? Of course not. Very easily, an argument can be made that all four of those schools are as good as UCLA or even better. Very easily. Is random Student S really going to be disadvantaged by choosing UW over UCLA?

If that span is meaningless for publics, why can’t we apply that logic to privates? It may sound sacrilegious to some but what makes #19 Notre Dame twice as good as #T42 Boston U and CWRU, or three times as good as #63 GWU or #68 Fordham? Does an accountant from ND make 2X more than an accountant from GWU? Does a pre-law student from ND have twice as good a chance at getting into law school as a pre-law student from Boston U?

Of course not, but that’s how some HS students end up applying value to schools. Not that the difference between UCLA and UMaryland is measured in grains of sand, but that because UMaryland’s rank of 60 is three times the rank of UCLA, then it must be a much more inferior destination. Same for Rice and Villanova, so much so that attending Villanova after not being accepted at Rice is considered to be a bad outcome worthy of crying over, or taking a gap year and reapplying to T20s the following year.

sigh I wish I didn’t just spend the time to type that and look up those rankings and examples. I couldn’t help myself :slight_smile: I know it’s not going to change minds on either side. I’m spritzing into the wind for one crowd, and preaching to the choir on the other side.


You truly believe #20 to #40 is supposed to mean “twice as good”? and #20 to #60 supposedly means “three times as good”? Using your same logic, then #1 to #3 means “three times as good”, and #2 to #10 means “five times as good”. Wow.


We’re still seeing academic powerhouse flagships like UW-Madison, U of Washington, and UIUC ranked low by USNews relative to where they are in terms of international/academic reputation. These are all typically top-25 or top-30 when those world U rankings come out.

I hope kids who put stock in these rankings (any ranking) take a moment to look at the methodology.


I don’t subscribe to that misconception. But if you read these forums long enough, the proof is easily found every application season. Just this past spring, there were multiple threads of students saying they were failures and their HS years were wasted because they were denied across the board at T20s and the “best” they could do was a school ranked 45-60.

I remember students who were ready to take gap years because George Washington comparable schools were not good enough. There are families who ask if they need to retake the ACT because they only got a 35, and they’re worried because anything other than a T15 is beneath them, and they’re convinced a 36 will make it THAT much more likely to be accepted to a T15. It’s not me that thinks #15 is four times better than #60 - it’s many many people in these forums.

All the more reason these rankings should be Groupings. Keep the 1-20 grouping as is to keep those followers happy. But the next grouping could be 21-80, and the next could be 81-150. It wouldn’t generate as much attention and discussion/debate, but it would be a more honest representation of the truth.


Agreed. The global ranking methodology is silly. When trying to compare across so many different borders and systems they have so little data/categories available on every university vs within the U.S., the methodology suffers. That’s why when you filter out all the non-US universities in a global ranking the order makes no sense from a U.S. perspective.

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University of Wisconsin (the real UW) and others get all of their reputation from their graduate schools. The big public have a different mission when it comes to undergraduate education. You do get spillover from grad that makes them still really good undergraduate schools.

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There is nuance here.

Consider math at Michigan and MIT. Michigan has an outstanding math program, and has some of the best math kids in the nation attending. The same is true of MIT.

The difference is that the very strongest math kids in the nation almost invariably end up at MIT, as well as a decent fraction of the strongest math kids in the world. In other words, a notable fraction of the math kids at MIT are superstars, making the peer group at MIT different from that of Michigan. You can decide if that’s a “significant difference.”

The same logic applies to humanities at say U Florida vs Yale.


No, he took the time to explain what he thought and was right on. I think your analogies between football teams and institutes of higher education are deeply flawed however.


I hope the same but am afraid it is not going to happen for the vast majority of kids that fall into this trap.

Majority seem to be Asian-American. There seems to be a cultural focus on rankings and value. A neighbor graduated from Yale. When he attends admissions events in suburban Dallas, it’s 90% Asian/Indian.

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But again, you are assuming there is a significant difference between #1 and #20. I don’t think that is true. Though note that on this site, there are many people who believe there is a huge difference between say #3 and #5 so there is that.

And I think a better reason to discount the various ranking (versus not being consistent from year to year) is they are inherently subjective. Taking the subjective and assigning numerical values to subjectively determined attributes and then subjectively weighting those attributes relative to each other and producing a numbered and ordered list doesn’t change that.

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Ivy and other elite schools aren’t a huge focus in DFW outside of certain small circles. I like it that way.