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Subject: College Rankings Are a High Growth Industry

Upper Valley
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Date Posted: 17:42:39 07/18/17 Tue
In reply to: IvySportsJunkie 's message, "Re: Columbia and Chicago Threads: Unraveling of HYP Hegemony" on 17:27:41 07/17/17 Mon

Some of the college rankings out there use methodologies which are questionable at best and farcical at worst. Many of them use raw data which exemplifies "garbage in, garbage out."

Why are presumably smart people using shaky methodologies? Well, unlike selling steel or breakfast cereal, in college rankings, providers don't want to sell exactly what the other guy is selling. And yet because the products are so popular, everybody wants to sell something.

Of all the methodologies, I think that US News does the most credible job of balancing hard data and the softer qualitative aspects of being on campus A versus campus B. The problem of course is that now colleges are managing themselves to the US News rankings.

So US News is a victim of its own success. Because they are transparent to their criterion, any college can manage to the most important variables. Across all colleges, that has been a good thing as a little competitive fire has been lit. But individual colleges can and have become good at gaming the numbers.

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