The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), an organization of more than 11,000 high school counselors and college admission officials from around the world, and U.S.News & World Report agreed last fall to hold a series of meetings to discuss U.S. News's America's Best Colleges undergraduate rankings guide and other higher education issues.
Why does U.S. News want to have these meetings with NACAC? U.S. News strongly believes it's very important to have an open dialogue with members of NACAC, since the organization plays a leading role in college admissions both at the high school and the college level. U.S. News fully understands that the annual America's Best Colleges rankings have an impact on prospective students and their families as well as the colleges and universities themselves. U.S. News believes that these meetings with NACAC can help us more fully understand NACAC members' perspectives. They will enable NACAC members to voice their views about the rankings and other issues, including U.S. News's efforts to educate the public in how the rankings work and the accuracy of the statistical data and the quantitative and subjective information used in the rankings. These discussions will also enable U.S. News editors to seek feedback from NACAC's members on how our print and Web products can be improved, how to communicate with NACAC's members and the public about the rankings, and how to gain insight into new developments and trends in admissions from the college and high school counselor perspective.
One very important aspect of the meetings is that they serve as an open forum for NACAC's members to ask detailed questions about the methodology used in the U.S. News college rankings. Equally important is that U.S. News editors will now have the opportunity to provide in-depth answers. U.S. News believes that these conversations will further our goal to be fully transparent about all aspects of the college rankings.
The first meeting, held Sept. 24, 2009, was very productive. Here is a public summary (PDF) of what was discussed. NACAC's Admitted blog also has a report on what happened at the meeting. U.S. News looks forward to future discussions this year.
The NACAC/U.S.News & World Report Ad Hoc Committee is composed of nine NACAC members, some of whom work as high school counselors and the others who work in college admissions offices, and three U.S. News staff members.
Representing NACAC are:
U.S. News was represented by Kenneth Terrell, Robert Morse, and Sara Clarke, the senior staff members directly involved and responsible for the company's America's Best Colleges undergraduate rankings guide and the education content on usnews.com.