In a stunning turn of events that sent shockwaves across the college admissions landscape, Columbia University, ranked second along with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 2022 US News & World Report annual college ranking, has been quietly removed from the 2022 ranking. Additionally, the elite university has announced that it will not participate in the 2023 US News ranking. And why such a turn of events? Because it seems that Columbia may have misreported some data to the publication, as pointed out by a Columbia math professor. Yes, an institution with a strict honor code, may have violated its own code of conduct.
As Anemona Hartocollis reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Columbia Won’t Participate in the Next U.S. News Rankings,” “The deadline to submit data for the rankings is Friday, and a university spokesman said officials needed more time to analyze the data and address the criticisms raised by the professor, Michael Thaddeus. In a 21-page stinging critique Dr. Thaddeus posted on his website in February, he not only challenged the data behind the rating but added fuel to the debate over whether college rankings — used by millions of prospective college students and their parents — are valuable or even accurate.”
And how will this move impact Columbia’s standing? As Hartocollis writes, “For an Ivy League school like Columbia to withdraw from the rankings, even temporarily, is a blow to their reputation and could spur other universities to reconsider their participation as well. Many college presidents complain that the rankings force them to emphasize statistics that oversimplify what it takes to find a good match between a student and a school.”
We, of course, don’t envision the US News college ranking going away anytime soon nor do we foresee other elite universities pulling out of the competition. In fact, we believe Columbia will be back competing for a top slot on the annual list in 2024 (after its year hiatus). After all, it’s not like some universities — although no university as prestigious as Columbia — has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar misreporting data to US News in the past. Remember when Emory University and Claremont McKenna College fudged their numbers? We do, we do! We wrote about these admissions scandals ten years ago. Hey, we’ve been at it a while!
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