College Ranking Data

University Ranking Data, College Ranking Figures, College Ranking Numbers

George Washington set an example for our country by serving only two terms. Washington and Lee University is setting a bad example by fudging their admissions data. Big time. And if you’re wondering whose house this is, it was built for Robert E. Lee. It’s Washington and Lee, after all.

There’s an article in “The Washington Post” by Nick Anderson entitled “Universities can look more selective by how they count student applications.” No kidding. If you haven’t noticed that we’ve been saying this for years, you haven’t been reading our college admissions blog. Highly selective universities throughout the country recruit students who have no shot whatsoever of ever gaining admission to these schools simply because they want to boost their application numbers. By boosting their application numbers, their admission rate will naturally be lower. And they will thus have a better ranking in “US News & World Report” than if they only recruited students who had a shot of actually getting in.

The article in “The Washington Post” highlights one university in particular that is manipulating their “US News & World Report” ranking to such an extreme that they should be ashamed of themselves. According to the article on college ranking data, “Washington and Lee University declared in its official reports last year that 5,972 students applied for admission and 19 percent were accepted. Those numbers helped define the public profile of one of the nation’s most-selective liberal arts schools. They also were the result of a counting method that worked to benefit the university’s image.”

The article goes on to state, “Internal university data obtained by The Washington Post show that more than 1,100 applications for the class of 2016 at the private Virginia school — roughly one out of every six — were never completed. The files were missing required elements such as teacher recommendations or test scores, raising questions about how many of them were seriously considered for admission.” Wow! Talk about getting caught red-handed. Washington and Lee University, while they might be operating within the rules for the “US News & World Report” college ranking, is fudging their college ranking data and they should be ashamed of themselves.

But we all know that Washington and Lee isn’t alone.


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  • Tom Hall says:

    This article is false on so many accounts and is a blatant hit job on W&L. I would think that you would see enough to see what it is.

    Here are the facts
    1.W&L has a two part application – Part One and Part Two. When you send in part one, you have applied.

    2. Oh, by the way, when you submit part one, you also submit your application fee. Again, you’ve now paid the application fee, so you’ve applied.

    3. If you don’t complete the application, that is the student’s problem. In W&L’s opinion (as is of the opinion of MOST of the school’s out there), you’ve applied once you’ve sent in the fee and submitted the first part of the application.

    4. This is accepted practice right now and done my a majority of schools out there including W&L competitors Davidson, Vanderbilt, Haverford, Middlebury, etc.

    5. Typical abhorrent journalism by the Washington Post. Love how W&L is singled out when schools that have admitted falsifying test scores (i.e. Emory) are barely given a cursory mention.

    You may want to look a bit deeper into most other schools do their admissions policies. I am all for changing the standards and making them a bit more uniform, but this is a hatchet job specifically aimed at W&L for some reason. Let’s not call out just one school when most operate this way.

    • Bev Taylor says:

      Mr. Hall,

      Our analysis of the piece in “The Washington Post” indeed states that Washington & Lee isn’t alone in manipulating admissions data, though this makes them no less guilty. As for “The Washington Post” publishing “typical abhorrent journalism,” “The Washington Post” is one of the most respected newspapers in America. Ever heard of Woodward and Bernstein? Their journalism changed the course of our country’s history.

  • Concerned parent says:

    Washington Post terminated their journalism Ombudsman position – why? Did they not like the information and questions coming forward?

    If there are other colleges applying similar or the same (“…not alone.”), why not name them?
    If they are following the US News… criteria, why is that ‘caught red-handed’? Why would you assume that the applicants were not considered? Do you have evidence?

    Regarding elite schools, why not delve into how well below standardized test score students with well below commensurate GPAs and non difficult curricula are being admitted easily? How about connected applicants with mediocre performance being admitted?

    Did you do a piece to call out elite universities/colleges when they did not reflect their ‘part-time’ law students so that they wouldn’t have to include their academic/test score stats in their ranking analyses?

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