High School Counselors Give Input on Best Colleges

Counselors at schools nationwide are being polled for the Best Colleges rankings.

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For the third year, U.S. News is asking high school counselors for their views on undergraduate programs at U.S. colleges and universities.

Counselors across the country have told us countless times that their views should be included in our Best Colleges rankings—and we're listening. Counselors say that they have a considerable amount of knowledge about the college admissions process and that they have highly informed opinions on many colleges in their region and nationwide.

We agree and think that counselors have broad experience and expertise that is needed to assess the academic quality of colleges and universities, given their role in assisting prospective students and their parents with the college-selection process. U.S. News is also conducting this counselor survey in order to obtain opinions on the relative merits of colleges from a much larger, diverse group of higher education experts, beyond the college presidents, admissions deans, and provosts that we will continue to survey this year.

As was the case last year, U.S. News will incorporate the results of the high school counselor rankings directly into the Best Colleges methodology used in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings. Last year, counselor's ratings counted for 7.5 percent of the overall score. U.S. News plans to publish the results from this survey in the new 2012 Best Colleges rankings, which will be released later in 2011. At the same time, we will separately publish the results of the high school counselor rankings of colleges.

[See the current high school counselor rankings.]

The surveys are in the mail now. The counselors we have invited to participate are from around 2,400 public and private schools in every state. Around 1,800 of those surveyed are from public high schools nationwide that made the December 2009 Best High Schools rankings.

In addition, for the first time we are polling 600 counselors from the largest independent schools in every state. One survey to rate colleges in the National Universities category is being sent to counselors at around 1,200 of these high schools nationwide, and a separate survey to rate colleges in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category is being sent to counselors at the other 1,200.

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