“US News & World Report” released its 2012 college rankings today. This is always major news in the world of college admissions. It’s extremely important for colleges – especially the highly selective colleges like those in the Ivy League – to place well in the “US News” rankings as people throughout the world value these rankings and it impacts so many aspects of a college. After all, if your alma mater starts slipping in the rankings, you may not want to donate as much money to them and that university may not then be able to build a brand new fitness center. College and Ivy League rankings can indeed create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But what’s not mentioned in this year’s college and Ivy League rankings that’s interesting to know? Well, this year, according to “Inside Higher Ed,” the peer review data from college presidents wasn’t based on as much data as in years past. According to “Inside Higher Ed,” “This year the overall participation rate among presidents was 43 percent, down five percentage points in a year. Among liberal arts colleges (many of which have been particularly critical of the U.S. News rankings), the participation rate this year is 44 percent, down 3 percentage points. In recent years, the rankings have done particularly well at attracting participation from “national universities,” but that category too saw a drop, with 53 percent participating this year, down 6 percentage points in a year.”
And the data isn’t only low among college presidents. It’s also low among high school guidance counselors this year. According to “Inside Higher Ed,” “Surveys of presidents account for 15 percent of the calculations about top liberal arts colleges and universities and 25 percent for other institutions. But for the top institutions, the magazine also does another survey — of high school guidance counselors — which accounts for 7.5 percent of the ranking. And this survey’s participation rate, never high, is also falling. Last year, 21 percent responded. This year the total is just 13 percent.”
What do you make of these slipping participation rates? Do you think the college ranking data isn’t as accurate as in years past because of the diminishing sampling size? Let us know your thoughts by posting below! And check out this post on tuition at Ivy League schools or this one on college rankings and graduation rate.