Share on Facebook
February 25, 2010
U.S. News has just published a midyear update of the World's Best Universities rankings. We've significantly expanded the number of schools and countries on these lists. These rankings are based on data from the 2009 QS World University Rankings, which were produced in association with QS Quacquarelli Symonds. One of the world's leading networks for careers and education, QS Quacquarelli Symonds has been publishing world rankings since 2004. None of the first set of World's Best Universities rankings published on Oct. 20, 2009, change as a result of this expansion; rather, some of the ranking lists have been significantly lengthened.
[See the World's Best Universities rankings.]
Share on Facebook
February 18, 2010
Thomson Reuters, a leading research, analysis, and news organization, recently published the results of a survey of key higher eduction leaders at research institutions around the world. The report, "Global Opinion Survey New Outlooks on Institutional Profiles," measured the views of 350 academics from more than 30 countries on the usefulness, methodologies, weaknesses, and data issues with college rankings. The study looked at both global rankings like Shanghai Jiao Tong's Academic Ranking of World Universities and THE-QS World University Rankings and national rankings like U.S.News & World Report's America's Best Colleges.
The report says: "Thomson Reuters is in little doubt that league tables (or rankings) matter when it comes to ranking universities and colleges. If well-developed, they can be informative to students and their mentors, and they matter hugely to those who run universities. But league tables (or rankings) can hide as much as they show, because universities are complex organizations and span cultural boundaries and support multiple missions. No single indicator can capture that."
Share on Facebook
February 11, 2010
Earlier this week at its midyear meeting, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates passed a resolution to study rankings of law firms and law schools. The measure was approved by a narrow margin and was hotly debated. The ABA's resolution reads: "RESOLVED: That the American Bar Association examine any efforts to publish national, state, territorial, and local rankings of law firms and law schools."
It's not a secret that two main factors triggered the ABA's resolution:
1. The annual U.S. News Best Law School rankings, which are widely followed by prospective law school students, legal academics, and prospective employers of law school students.
2. The announcement last year that U.S. News and Best Lawyers, the leading survey of lawyers worldwide, have teamed up for an expansion of U.S. News's signature "America's Best" series to include new rankings of "America's Best Law Firms" and "America's Best Law Firms to Work For." The overall rankings, including the highest-ranking firms by practice area nationwide and the highest-ranking firms in each state, are scheduled to appear in the October issue of U.S.News & World Report. All of the "Best Law Firm" rankings and accompanying data will be posted online in September. For more details, check out my recent post: America's Best Law Firms' Rankings Are Coming in 2010.
Share on Facebook
February 4, 2010
There is now more social science research to refute the often-cited myth that U.S. News's America's Best Colleges rankings are the main reason that students choose one school over another. The recently released "UCLA Freshman Survey: Fall 2009," a highly respected national survey of 219,864 first-year students at 297 colleges, provides a scientific basis to disprove the notion. It also shows that rising college costs and financial aid are now far more important factors than rankings as students are deciding where to go to school. Another financial consideration, the question of whether graduates get good jobs, increased in importance to its highest level since the UCLA survey started in 1983.
The UCLA survey asks students to rate which factors were "very important" in influencing their decision to attend a particular college. Incoming fall 2009 freshmen could choose as many of the 22 reasons listed as they wanted. The college rankings finished in 12th place, down from 11th place in last year's survey. So, at least based on this nationwide sample of freshmen from all types of colleges, students are using the rankings responsibly—as just one factor in the college search process.
Here are the actual 22 reasons that students were offered in the UCLA survey. They are ranked in descending order, based on which factors most influenced their final selection.
Reasons and the percentage cited as "very important" in influencing a student's decision to attend this particular college:
1. College has very good academic reputation (63.6 percent)
2 .This college's graduates get good jobs (56.5 percent)
3. I was offered financial assistance (44.7 percent)
4. The cost of attending this college (41.6 percent)
5. A visit to the campus (41.4 percent)
6. Wanted to go to a college about this size (39.8 percent)
7. College has a good reputation for social activities (39.3 percent)
8. Grads get into good grad/professional schools (34.6 percent)
9. Wanted to live near home (20.1 percent)
10. Information from a website (19.2 percent)
11. Parents wanted me to go to this school (18.8 percent)
12. Rankings in national magazines (18.5 percent)
13. Admitted early decision and/or early action (12.9 percent)
14. Could not afford first choice (12.2 percent)
15. High school counselor advised me (10.3 percent)
16. Not offered aid by first choice (8.9 percent)
16. Athletic department recruited me (8.9 percent)
18. Attracted by religious affiliation/orientation of college (7.8 percent)
18. My teacher advised me (7.8 percent)
20. My relatives wanted me to come here (7.3 percent)
21. Private college counselor advised me (3.6 percent)
22. Ability to take online courses (2.7 percent)
Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.