The annual college rankings from US News and World Report (USNWR) were released this week in the wake of an announcement about subtle new changes to the magazine’s methodology. For better or worse, these rankings inspire a great deal of conversation about the quality of American higher education, and influence big choices made by students and their families. We’re here to break down that methodology in order to help students and families determine what to tune out, and what to turn up.
In part one of this two-part series, we take on three of the four biggest factors in USNWR’s college rankings. But before we get down to specifics, it’s important for you to begin to think broadly about what matters to you in the college selection process. Do you value inputs like faculty quality, the admitted student profile, and endowment? Or do you place a higher emphasis on outputs like graduation rate, starting salary, and graduate school admissions? And what role should the education process play in your decision?