Dissecting Best Colleges

Thank you for pointing out that the nursing program at Winston-Salem State University has a larger percentage of male nursing students than the national workforce average of 6 percent ["Take a College Road Trip," September 1-8].

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Thank you for pointing out that the nursing program at Winston-Salem State University has a larger percentage of male nursing students than the national workforce average of 6 percent ["Take a College Road Trip," September 1-8]. I am a registered nurse who happens to be male. Before becoming an RN, I worked for an auto manufacturer in the Detroit area. I encourage former autoworkers to join me and become a nurse, especially those who are male and of color. Gender and ethnic background need to more closely reflect the patient population.

Thomas Rooney

Sterling Heights , Mich. Recent statistics show that 40 percent of students taking the SAT are minorities, reflecting the face of education in this country. Yet, the cover of your 2008 America's Best Colleges issue, like the 2007 America's Best Colleges issue, makes it appear that only white students graduate from high school and go on to college. Shame on you!

Joan M. Aarseth

Sterling , Va. Another year of rankings of America's Best Colleges brings about an obvious observation. There is a direct correlation between the SAT/ACT scores of incoming students and the rank of colleges and universities. The recruitment and acceptance of high-achieving students is the major determinant in the success of a school. To assume that a particular college enhances the potential of individual students more than another college is a stretch.

Greg Wieman, Ed.D.

North Muskegon , Mich. I find your method for ranking colleges and universities to be inane ["How We Calculate the Rankings"]. The most important factor should be the quality of the education given. "Faculty resources" should therefore be the greatest factor. After that, the quality of the student entering the institution (student selectivity) and satisfaction of the student with the education he received (alumni giving) should be the next most important. "Graduation and retention rates" have nothing to do with the quality of education offered, yet weigh in at 20 to 25 percent under your method. Furthermore, while "peer assessment" is no doubt important and can, as you note, "account for intangibles," it can also reward slipping schools with noble pedigrees while penalizing up-and-comers that lack name recognition. Lastly, "financial resources" are important, but this category means nothing without further explanation.

John Power

Chicago Why no mention of why tuition increases outstrip inflation by a factor of two or three each year in "Trying to Climb a Broken Ladder" [September 15-22]? The cause to this parent of three is clear: irresponsible spending of other people's money—mine! I'd like to see an article highlighting colleges that make responsible spending a priority. Why not incorporate that criterion in the rankings!

William Larry Haith

Biddeford , Maine