Over the last two decades, the popularity of college rankings has grown significantly. In fact, rankings have helped to secure a greater level of influence for many different colleges.
During 1995, the first college rankings were published, and unfortunately, most prospective college students couldn’t have cared less about them.
However, in 2012, the importance of college rankings started to rise sharply. Over 60 percent of college students said that they used rankings to decide what college they wanted to attend.
What Has Made College Rankings So Important?
These days, it’s easy to see that the rankings are important, but a lot of people don’t understand the reason why they’ve become so popular. Since the transition into the information age, data transparency has grown significantly.
The increased access to information has made it much easier for people to make big and small decisions. Some people use data to decide where to live while others use it to decide where they want to attend college. In terms of importance, college rankings are on the higher end of the scale because choosing a college is an important decision.
Since there are many different colleges to attend, potential students want to compare different colleges and see how they stack up against each other. They also want to find out what certain colleges are known for and whether or not it will be beneficial to spend four years at the college.
A lot of people don’t realize that college is an investment, so it’s important to shop around and find the best offer. With the help of college rankings, it’s possible to find out if the investment in a particular college is likely to be profitable. These are all important reasons why rankings have become more important than ever.
The True Importance of College Rankings
Despite the fact that many critics say rankings are elitist and flawed, thousands of individuals are using them to make a decision. According to surveys completed by high school students, 66 percent of students said they used current rankings to make a decision.
Most of these students also said that they believe the rankings are very important for finding the best college for their needs. The reason why students find the rankings so important is because they use them to decipher the differences between schools.
If a student is deciding between five different colleges, the rankings make it easier to determine what makes one college different from the others. Surveys show that students who scored an SAT score of 1300 or above were most likely to take college rankings into consideration.
The majority of students said that they use information from U.S. News & World Report because they find it to be the most trustworthy. Even in 2002, a large percentage of students knew about the rankings but didn’t take them into consideration when making a decision. Over the last decade, over half of students base their decisions on the rankings.
How to Effectively Use College Rankings
The rankings can be very helpful, but they must be used properly. Students are recommended to use the rankings as tip sheets.
They’re especially useful for finding colleges that aren’t included in the national university section. As a prospective student, you should decide what is most important. Some colleges have a better social scene while others are environmentally friendly.
It’s important to take the rankings with a grain of salt. In other words, don’t believe that one college is better than another because it’s listed higher on the list. You should also realize that you don’t have to be a Harvard graduate to become successful.