iOS app Android app More

Do College Rankings Mean Anything? Bloggers Weigh In

First Posted: 08/17/10 11:45 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

College Rankings

Forbes does them. So does the Princeton Review. Washington Monthly is in on the game. And, of course, there's the granddaddy of them all: U.S. News and World Report.

It seems that every day a new set of college rankings appears on the radar. Is it too much of a questionably good thing?

Some of the country's higher education critics have started to greet the rankings with a yawn. Evidently, the only thing surprising about the rankings is just how underwhelming they are.

Last year, CBS MoneyWatch's Lynn O'Shaughnessy called U.S. News' rankings "a high-stakes beauty contest." This year, she pokes fun at the inevitability of an Ivy League school taking the U.S. News No. 1 spot:

The magazine would save itself a lot of trouble if it just flipped a coin every year to determine who was No. 1 since there are only two contenders. Or perhaps the magazine could find a three-headed coin so Yale would also get a chance in the college rankings sweepstakes.

NPR's David Gura considers the larger picture:

Sure, the top 20 schools in both categories are rearranged annually, depending on undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and freshman retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and the alumni giving rate, among other things, but what does it really mean if, say, Harvard University supplants another Ivy League school, or the California Institute of Technology falls to No. 7? When I looked at schools, I was more-impressed by qualitative differences than quantitative ones. The quad! The library! The food! The stories about that much-beloved professor!

What do YOU think? Do the rankings mean anything to you? Join the discussion in the comments section.

WATCH: U.S. News and World Report senior education writer Kim Clark breaks down the rankings on the Today show.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

FOLLOW HUFFPOST COLLEGE

Filed by Leah Finnegan  |