How Credible is US News & World Report?

<p>I was looking through the 2012 edition of US News & World Report's Best Colleges and saw that UA is tied for 75th place. I then noted a number of schools that D did apply to or might have applied to, that UA is ranked above. If she had told people she was going to Miami of Ohio (ranked 90th), people would have told her that's great. Same with the University of Dayton or Loyola University Chicago which are both ranked lower than UA. People always react negatively or at least surprised that she's heading to UA, but rankings show it's higher than many other schools that students from our hs often attend. </p>

<p>No, D isn't going to go citing this ranking, but I was just wondering how credible these rankings are in the academic world?</p>

<p>linny... if you have a great number then usnwr is extremely valid, if its lower and its your school then it has no value at all :).... take them with a grain of salt. my son came up with a formula...if there are almost 4000 colleges, anything in the top 5% must be pretty good. that was the only ranking he used except the one book with the lists ..ie most sober school, most studious, most political etc...that ranking did interest him</p>

<p>The fact is people don't like different. If you choose a school OOS and it isn't one they were accepted to or considered they react negatively. People just plain and simply do not like different. Some like to measure others against themselves and the other way around. There is also an element of jealousy and even snobbery.</p>

<p>While performing my daughter's physical over the summer, the doctor asked her how she performed in school. She replied that she was valedictorian, had the highest SAT score in her school, several scholarships (including full tuition) and was heading to BAMA. The doctor replied that she had just attended a high school reunion recently and how interesting she found it to see how people turned out. She said that she was shocked to find out her class valedictorian who had every indication of a bright and successful future was actually a second grade teacher. Hmmm....so we don't need bright, promising, compassionate young adults to become anything but doctors?</p>

<p>Relax Linny. Your daughter will make the right decision for her as far as where she goes to school and what her major should be. Don't let the attitude of others make either of you glum or defensive. Finding a school that is a good fit of your child is the first step. The next step is to allow her the freedom to follow her passion whatever that may be and enjoy and be at peace with it.</p>

<p>*The fact is people don't like different. If you choose a school OOS and it isn't one they were accepted to or considered they react negatively. People just plain and simply do not like different. Some like to measure others against themselves and the other way around. There is also an element of jealousy and even snobbery.</p>

<p>*</p>

<p>This is soooo true. Those who would never consider a southern school want "validation" that their decision is right. So, when others choose differently, they feel that their own choices are being threatened. </p>

<p>*If she had told people she was going to Miami of Ohio (ranked 90th), people would have told her that's great. Same with the University of Dayton or Loyola University Chicago which are both ranked lower than UA.
* </p>

<p>Yes, and this is also true of other state flagships....if someone were to say that they were going to Univ of Colorado at Boulder, no one would criticize...yet UC is ranked #94.</p>

<p>You don't even wanna know what people in our hometown say to me and my D about us visiting Bama Mardi Gras week......</p>

<p>I just tell them, well, "Bama offers degree she wants (musical theatre) and LSU doesn't, and they are more likely to give give her more money than LSU will!" </p>

<p>We're considered heretics basically....</p>

<p>Is the 75th wealthiest person in America rich or poor? Does the 75th best player in the NFL suck? Is the 75th hottest co-ed at 'Bama hot? (Is it PC to say co-ed?)</p>

<p>The question isn't where UA ranks. It's how good it is. And, critically, how good a fit it is for any given student. I've known dozens of students who went to the Ivies because rankings told them that's where they should be, and then found themselves miserable. </p>

<p>Last time I checked, UA was drawing more and more NMFs annually. If it was just for the money and the place/education/experience was inadequate, word would be out on the street in a New York minute. That not being the case, the talent just keeps on coming.</p>

<p>UA is the 75th best university in the nation? For who, US News and World Report? Cool. Who cares? Not my NMF son or his peers. They wouldn't want to be anywhere else. And they don't need a magazine to tell them third hand what's hot and what's not. </p>

<p>Awesome is as awesome does. Roll Tide and choose wisely. It's your life, not theirs.</p>

<p>To go back to "how accurate are the USNWR rankings" question, just remember that they are as accurate as the information/statistics they are given to determine the ranking. Additionally, the overall lists are just that, overall. Some schools have departments that exceed other schools as a department. </p>

<p>As far as the statistics go, there are many ways to manipulate the statistics. There are many threads on CC about manipuating the statistics, and what schools are doing to improve their numbers. Including omitting test scores of certian groups of students ( like Questbridge applicants), and blatantly lying about the real numbers. </p>

<p>Here is one thread about a college providing false numbers, but there are a number of posts in this one about the other ways that the numbers can be manipulated :
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/claremont-mckenna-college/1282934-cmc-office-admission-falsely-reported-sat-scores.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/claremont-mckenna-college/1282934-cmc-office-admission-falsely-reported-sat-scores.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>So the bottom line is that as an overall snap shot of a school, the USNWR list is a good starting point for getting ideas about colleges. But in my son's research, we quickly learned that a starting point was all it was, and a school should not be taken off a list (or put on a list) specifically because of it's ranking.</p>

<p>^^^ I agree with the above posts. A year ago when we were in the hunt for our schools, we subsrcbed and used USNWR as a guide and portal for information. My D applied to schools ranked in the Top 50 and UA due to the NMF information we'd received. She was accepted to every school she applied to except for WashU in St Louis. She received significant scholarships at 3 other schools. She has no regrets whatsoever. Our HS regularly has multiple NMSFs and NMFs, and I wrote our College Resource Center to let them know that THEY need to put UA on the radar in our area for NMFs and high stats kids. Frankly, coming from the midwest, UA ranks similar to Big-10 schools where MANY of our high stats kids go. Why not go to UA where scholarships are published and non-competitive if the fit is good? As for the queer looks and comments, and we received many as well, I think it's more a "regional" thing. I'm sure we would have received the same comment if she were going to Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, or any of the other "states" that northerners seem to feel are somehow sub-par based on regional stereotypes. Those stereotypes are less in NC, GA and FL, right? Could that be because more people vacation in those states? All I can say is that the USNWR rankings should be used as a general barometer for where a school falls generally, but ANY school in the Top 100 ... heck the Top 300 ... should be a Wonderful Choice! AND, remember these are only the group called Nationally Ranked. When looking at LAS or Regional Rankings there are hundreds of schools as well that are just as strong academically but are not even included in the "National" rankings. Feel as good and proud of your choice as you would be if you were sending your child to ANY of the State Flagship schools. UA is THE BEST! Oh and they have pretty good football too! Roll Tide!</p>

<p>When our youngest child was four and starting kindergarten, the teachers administered an assessment test on the first day to determine their abilities. The teacher and individual student sat at a table with a pencil and cup. The state assessment called for identifying if children recognized positional words such as front and back. The assessment called for a Dixie cup and a pencil to be used to establish front and back. When the teacher asked our youngest to place the pencil in front of the cup, she responded by handing the pencil to the teacher. The teacher explained to our daughter that the point was to see if she knew how to place the pencil in front of the cup and tried to hand it back. My daughter politely responded by saying "Well, see since a circle really has no front or back the important question is where YOU think the front and back are. You're the one who checks off if I get it right, so where do YOU think is the front is and I'll just agree."</p>

<p>While data can be compiled, it is basically opinion. The question is, what do you think. I always remember my four year old's reply when I think of perspective. Even where we live, others have negative idea about the UA . The funny thing is, it is like the monster under the bed.....although they have never seen it or visited, they have formed an opinion. Roll Tide!</p>

<p>Dad2ILD: It is not just "northerners" who question why a high-achieving student would attend Alabama. We live in Virginia, and there were plenty of students in the class that followed my son's (2009) who criticized his decision to take a NM offer from UA. This will not be an issue for my younger son, a HS sophomore, for a couple of reasons. One, he is at a different (and larger) school than his brother. Two, the college counselor is a UA grad. Three, his BC Calculus teacher is an Arkansas grad and two more teachers are Georgia natives and big UGA fans. So there is no bias here.</p>

<p>That said, my son and his friend went to the pretigious scholars orientation last May in DC. The list of students receiving this scholarship includes some who attend Ivies or top 10-ranked schools. But there were several students who are enrolled at historically black colleges or small D-2/D-3 schools that many probably never heard of. </p>

<p>College is what you make of it -- regardless of the ranking.</p>

<p>Bamagirls, I do a talk on "perspective" to nurse case managers occasionally. I will remember your daughters story! I also like your "monsters under the bed" analogy!</p>

<p>
[quote]
The funny thing is, it is like the monster under the bed.....although they have never seen it or visited, they have formed an opinion.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Case in point: When my son's high school college counselor heard during our pre-application conference that the lad was considering 'Bama, he couldn't hide his disdain, non-verbal as it was. After all, why would any student from a top-flight private college prep academy consider a place like, yuck, 'Bama?</p>

<p>Last Fall the counselor and two of his colleagues visited UA and were blown away. They are now enthusiatically touting 'Bama and directing top scholars UA's way.</p>

<p>Roll Tide Vlines and Malanai!</p>

<p>* My daughter politely responded by saying "Well, see since a circle really has no front or back the important question is where YOU think the front and back are. You're the one who checks off if I get it right, so where do YOU think is the front is and I'll just agree."
*</p>

<p>ROTF lol</p>

<p>:)</p>

<p>I still have the same reaction as well!</p>

<p>I live in one of the counties in Georgia that produces the most UGA and Georgia Tech students in the entire state. The reputation of Bama around here is that of being somewhat inferior... In fact, when I was telling my cousin (a UGA grad) that I was going to Alabama, his response was "I thought you were smart?" I just bit my tongue and let it go because he was not going to be convinced, but what I wanted to say was "Alabama is paying for the great majority of my tuition, providing me a MUCH better education for my intended major, and feels like home....Things that UGA and every other SEC school that I visited couldn't give me. ROLL TIDE, and try not to be too jealous of our football team." :)</p>

<p>I already knew before starting my college visits that I wanted to attend a large SEC school because I knew that that was what would serve my educational goals and would fit my personality the best. I based my decision off of the atmosphere, the strength of my intended major, and scholarship opportunities. Alabama was the last school that I visited and it fit all three of these the best and ultimately just felt like the perfect place. Only after the fact did I actually go and look at rankings, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see Alabama at 75 because like many others, I had received many upturned noses and quizzical looks. So I guess that's just my personal testimonial to Alabama, and my point is that college decisions shouldn't be based solely on rankings. They can certainly enhance your view of schools though! Good Luck and Roll Tide!!! :)</p>