What's with the rankings??!

<p>So I was reading some of the rankings, and I found that on ARWU, Montana State University Bozeman has the rank of around dead last this year.</p>

<p>I know for a fact that the engineering there is great, but the rankings don't seem to agree.</p>

<p>So, how reliable are these rankings? Are they a great tool for finding where a university stands?</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>"I know for a fact that the engineering there is great, but the rankings don't seem to agree."</p>

<p>For one, that's an opinion, not a fact.</p>

<p>Two, I would think it's pretty hard to rank very effectively below the top-20 or so, even the top-20 are probably hard to rank very well. I think rankings are good for "these are the best schools" rather than "college A ranked #30 is better than college B ranked #32." And a lot of what makes up rankings is the amount of research and publications, neither of which effect undergrads (or at least don't effect most undergrads much).</p>

<p>I think QwertKey just gave a pretty darn good answer. Rankings do a great job of putting a school in its relative location on the list, but like QK said, they are too subjective and rough to really help you distinguish between two closely ranked schools.</p>

<p>I can't really comment on the quality of Montana State's program other than the fact that I have never really heard of it, to be honest. My guess is it has one of those solid undergrad programs and no meaningful graduate programs, which would severely limit its performance in the rankings and its national notoriety. That doesn't necessarily mean anything about its undergraduate quality.</p>

<p>Regardless of the causes of the low rank, is it going to hurt job chances to go to MSU?</p>

<p>Bump 10char</p>

<p>Check and see what their placement rates are, and what companies recruit there.</p>

<p>Montana State University has an awesome engineering program. They work you hard there and it is very rigorous.</p>

<p>As an example of the level of difficulty of the college, 88% of graduating students pass the FE exam as compared to 75% nationally. It also competes with Princeton, Harvard, and and Caltech for Goldwater scholarship recipients.</p>

<p>College</a> of Engineering - Student Life</p>

<p>However, Montana State University is a regional college and thus doesn't make it high on the national ranking systems. I wouldn't worry about that, as you can get a job if you graduate from the majority of ABET accredited colleges.</p>

<p>Really, the most important thing about choosing an undergraduate school for engineering is that you enjoy the environment, the people, and the campus. You are much more likely to complete engineering if you are happy where you are going to school.</p>

<p>I don't know if this is true of Montana State, but many mountain-west schools (UWyo, SD Mines, etc.) have strong connections to the mining and oil/gas industries in their respective states. They basically exist to funnel students into jobs with those firms.</p>

<p>The CC conventional wisdom tends to estimate that college prestige only matters for the first job or two. If this is the case, I think you should be able to get a brand-name engineering job from a no-name mountain-west school.</p>

<p>bigtrees, I am in total concurrence with you.</p>

<p>noimagination, i never thought of it that way!</p>

<p>The problem I see with Montana State is that if you pull their career fair attendees from last fall, it's not all that impressive, especially for the size of the school. Also, the companies that interviewed last fall are also not that impressive or numerous. I can't seem to find a copy of the salary survey showing the percent of students employed, which is usually a red flag.</p>

<p>I'm not saying that it's a bad school or that it deserves to be ranked dead last, but I'd have a lot of questions for the career services department before I enrolled.</p>

<p>^^Can we concur that this has been an "off" year due to the economy? I would still ask questions of the career services center ^^.</p>

<p>Regardless of the economy, lots of the highly ranked schools still place a very high percentage of their engineering students. It has been discussed ad nauseum how, while not recession-proof, engineering is one of the more recession-resistant majors out there.</p>

<p>I was actually just really confused because i heard that some universities(like National University of Singapore for example) have such a high ranking in one of the ranking systems and a rather low ranking in another system...so it just made me think about the authenticity of the rankings.</p>

<p>
[quote]
^^Can we concur that this has been an "off" year due to the economy? I would still ask questions of the career services center ^^.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The better schools are still seeing historical placement levels, though with someone flat lining salary rates. </p>

<p>When a company needs to hire one spot, and they can get a Michigan engineer or a Montana State engineer at the same price, they usually forgo the Montana State engineering for the Michigan engineer, ceteris paribus (the same parallel can be drawn for grad schools). That's what make Michigan a "better" undergraduate school than Montana State regardless of the rankings in my opinion.</p>

<p>If my oldest daughter was looking for an engineering college right now and asked "Is X a better school than Y?" and her intent was employment, the above is how I would make the decision. Call the career services departments, get data on who is hiring, average salaries, how many offers per student, the geographical dispersion of graduates, the size of the career fair, co-op placement, co-op salaries, etc. An economic downturn makes this an easier exercise because you can observe which schools "dry up" and which schools "stay busy" during the downturn.</p>

<ul>
<li>Over 90% of Business grads receive job offers in their option areas. </li>
<li>100% of the Computer Science graduates who seek positions in industry have employment offers prior to graduation. </li>
<li>MSU is the second largest supplier of Engineering grads to Boeing, and we rank among the top sources of engineering graduates for 3M and Tektronix. </li>
<li>Micron Technologies, the world's largest manufacturers of computer memory, has given the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at MSU 'Key School' program status. Only nine other universities have this status. Micron provides MSU students with scholarships, a vigorous internship program and post graduation employment.</li>
</ul>

<p>Why</a> MSU is A Great Place - Admissions - Montana State University</p>

<p>I have found multitude of links on the MSU website.</p>

<p>Career</a>, Internship & Student Employment Services</p>

<p>Career</a>, Internship & Student Employment Services</p>

<p>Career</a>, Internship & Student Employment Services</p>

<p>I am actually now reaching the conclusion that getting a top ranking (say beyond top 20, as one can't really argue with MIT, Caltech, etc) is all about being in the limelight. MSU isn't one of the schools that takes student information from Collegeboard (students who took the SAT, AP, etc) and then go after them (waived app fee, no need for essay, and the like). The mere existence of an institution surely doesn't reassure one that there will be jobs, but it is a positive fact for a student planning to attend the respective university. If students are filling up the seats, there is a reason behind that.</p>

<p>So why can't one argue about MIT or CalTech but one can argue about the other schools? Your own logic says maybe MIT isn't the best but then you say your logic doesn't apply to that. How many other schools does it not apply to?That whole statement was goofy.</p>

<p>I confirmed my view that MIT is one of the best and I won't even challenge that. MIT is above my logic. I said that it doesn't apply to the top 20.</p>

<p>Basically, I believe engineering is a huge industry and has enough jobs for just about everybody.</p>

<p>Ah, I misread your post. My bad.</p>

<p>If you're interested in Montana, Montana Tech has some insane placement rates. The place is literally an extension of the Montana energy and resource extraction industries.</p>

<p>Of course, not everyone would like the work-ready feel there, and the mining/oil tracking is perhaps unavoidably strong. But it may be worth a look if that area appeals to you.</p>