The National Association for College Admission Counseling surveyed its members on attitudes toward U.S. News's Best Colleges rankings; recently the NACAC/U.S. News & World Report Ad Hoc Committee issued its first report on the survey.
NACAC conducted the survey in May 2010. It asked various questions designed to measure the opinions among admission professionals at colleges, high schools, and independent counselors toward the Best Colleges rankings.
The report contains an important disclaimer in terms of what role U.S. News played in the survey and the preparation of the report. The report says:
"...for purposes of this report, the term "Committee" refers only to the NACAC members who serve on the Ad Hoc Committee. Representatives of U.S. News & World Report meet with the Ad Hoc Committee to ensure an open dialogue with the association, but their views are not represented in this report."
Highlights from the report include:
1. College admission counseling professionals generally have negative views of the rankings. High school counselors have a more negative view of the rankings than do those respondents in college admissions.
2. Survey participants felt that the "prominence" of the Best Colleges rankings has increased significantly over the last five years.
3. Respondents believed that the title of the annual U.S. News print publication that is now called "Best Colleges" doesn't accurately "describe the content in the publication."
4. A majority of those in college admissions thought the rankings are "a helpful resource for students and families interested in college information." Less than a majority of high school counselors felt the same way.
5. A majority of NACAC's members surveyed agreed that the "U.S. News rankings are useful to college and university recruiting efforts."
6. Around half of those in college admissions thought the "rankings offer information in a format that is useful to the public."
7. A large majority of those surveyed felt that the "rankings create confusion for students and families."
Bottom line: U.S. News is very glad that NACAC conducted and published the survey. The results offer unique insights into NACAC members' complex views toward our rankings. U.S. News believes having ongoing open and frank conversations with NACAC is very important, and we look forward to discussing the report.
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