The U.S. News and World Report “Best Colleges” rankings, which will be published next month, are viewed as a Baedeker and Bible by more than 5 million American parents considering colleges and universities for their high-school juniors and seniors.
We think that parents should use this guide with caution.
Our problem with the rankings begins with how they are produced. An unspecified number of academic leaders -- presidents, chancellors, provosts -- are sent questionnaires and asked to rate their peers. Though few of those surveyed have sat in on freshman lectures at Harvard or Yale (where students famously complain about the quality of undergraduate instruction), they invariably give the brand-name schools their highest endorsements.
Comment: Why is it so hard to get the truth outside that anyone knows who is inside?