The Ivy Coach Daily

September 23, 2020

Lies, Damned Lies, and College Rankings

All highly selective universities care about their US News & World Report ranking (photo credit: Tristan Harward).

Mark Twain popularized the expression, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” We’d like to correct him. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and college admissions officers claiming they don’t care about college rankings. Loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well that we have long argued that college admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities care first and foremost about their ranking — the most important of which is the US News & World Report ranking. And yet our suggestion that admissions officers care deeply about rankings has long been countered by admissions officers themselves who claim, “We don’t care about our ranking.” So which is it, you ask?

Colleges Claim Not to Care About Rankings, Yet Publish Press Releases About Strong Showing in Rankings

Don’t take our word for it. Forget Mark Twain. What did the great Maya Angelou once say?: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” It’s so true. On that note, we share with you a press release from the University of California entitled “All nine UC undergraduate campuses rank among the nation’s top 40 public universities, top 100 of all schools.” That’s right. The UC Newsroom has published a press release on their rankings. As you can imagine, the whole piece is about their rankings in US News & World Report. As the release goes, “For the first time ever, all nine undergraduate campuses also ranked among the top 100 universities in the country, public or private. This is a landmark accomplishment for UC’s youngest campus, UC Merced, which has vaulted up the rankings in the 16 years since it welcomed its first freshman class.”

The Hypocrisy Smells Worse Than Grandpa’s Feet

So in one breath, these colleges are claiming not to care about college rankings and in that same breath, they are publishing press releases about their strong showing in the rankings? Can you smell the utter hypocrisy from where you’re sitting as well as we can from where we’re sitting? We bet you can! Unless you can’t smell very well right now in which case you should stay away from others and get a rapid COVID-19 test since it’s one of the symptoms and all.

Chime in on college rankings by writing a Comment below and we’ll be sure to jump in on the conversation.

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