14 Nov

Why NOT to Use the Forbes College Rankings to Choose a School

With college legislation and student loan troubles all over the headlines, it seems like everyone wants to get in on the college news front.  The latest addition?  A new “College Ranking” list from Forbes Magazine.

Another Way NOT to Choose a College

Forbes, which joins U.S. News in the college ranking game, has recently released its methodology for upcoming college rankings-and they’re possibly even more disappointing than the U.S. News methodology.  They described their ranking methods as follows:

  • 25% on student evaluations at RateMyProfessors.com
  • 25% on # of alumni listed in “Who’s Who in America”
  • 50% divided among:
    • Average student debt
    • % of students who finish in 4 years
    • # of students/professors who have won awards & honors

The 25% credited to RateMyProfessors.com may be the most questionable, as that site is not heavily moderated.  Anyone can sign up and rate a professor, and many students use it as a venting ground for schools and teachers they dislike.  In addition, some professors get high rankings from students merely because they are easy graders.  Unfortunately, it appears this is just one more ranking publication for parents and students to disregard during college search time.

The Best Methodology

Back in May I disclosed just how choosing the “right” college can save you money– it can result in a better financial aid package and your student is more likely to finish college in 4 years instead of spending extra time and money making up for lost transfer credits (or worse, dropping out altogether).  Beyond the finances, the right college will likely allow your student to make a smooth transition from high school to college.

So how do you find the dream college for your child?  You need to choose the school not with the highest ranking in a magazine (you’ll notice these change between publications anyway), but with the best ranking for your student specifically.  The school needs to be a great fit for your student’s personality, academic skills, and social and environmental needs.

Need help?  Review this article about how to choose the right college for your student (these tips have been working for my clients for years)-and then go for it!

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: Student Union by harrykeely

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2 Responses to “Why NOT to Use the Forbes College Rankings to Choose a School”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Yale Gets an “F” in New College Ranking System Says:

    […] the scene years ago, it seems everybody wants to get in on the college ranking game. Last autumn Forbes released its own ranking list, and many others have been quick to […]

  2. 2
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] on the scene years ago, it seems everybody wants to get in on the college ranking game. Last autumn Forbes released its own ranking list, and many others have been quick to […]

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