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College Rankings Could Use an Upgrade

  1. Aug 20, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5678463

    I heard this discussion during the morning. McPherson suggested that there needs to be a way of measuring what someone knows going into college, what they know when they leave, and then comparing the two.

    Interesting discussion.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2006 #2

    mathwonk

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    those rankings are for increasing circulation. in a sense then they are for suckers. of course it helps to understand them if one reads the criteria they use. but they still have far less validity than people give them, in my opinion.


    if mr mcpherson wants a better ranking system to become current, he should implement his own idea. but rankings are a game. everyone who follows college football knows this.
     
  4. Aug 20, 2006 #3
    It's a little late now so I wont listen to it until tomorrow, but it sounds extremely interesting.

    How much knowledge do you need, to take full advantage of school is a very important point to consider when choosing schools. Me for example, I consider myself very intelligent and quite natural at visualizing eternity, but never had the educational background to express and corroborate my perceived knowledge. If I started at MIT right now, I would not be able to take full advantage of that school. My current knowledge is just not deep enough to compete at that level. I need many basics that could have been covered in advanced high school or by my self in preparation for college but I didn't( I'm a 28 years old army veteran). So I need an "easier" school.

    What will be the best school for me to reach my full potential?

    Currently there is no accurate way to measure that (that I know of). The only way to know if a school is at a suficiently challenging, yet manageable level of knowledge, is by attending to it and comparing yourself against your peers. If you are by far the best student in each class, that school is too easy for you. If you work really hard (Geek standard hard) and can't at least be in the middle, The school is too hard for you, time to find a smaller school in which to learn the little things that stopped you at the big school. If you work really hard and get very good grades but there are other students that could easily be the best, then you are in the right place.

    Maybe a good way to rank schools is by monitoring the student transfer rate. What grade did they have when they left, where they go, and the type of success at the next school. That should give a good idea of which are more demanding of prior knowledge and learning skills.
     
  5. Aug 22, 2006 #4
    It's like the old joke... universities are full of knowledge. Freshmen bring a little in, seniors don't take any away, and knowledge accumulates.
     
  6. Aug 22, 2006 #5
    The scourge of men

    The quality of education students recieve from their university is an important tool for a potential student's use when gauging the academic distinction between various schools. I agree with this. More so important is the facilitation and general use of this knowledge and other skills on the part of the university's alumni once removed from the university and employed by a private company, research center or other (academic, national labe, etc). The architecture, plant life and social scene that surround and make up the campus should not be undermined.

    Schools are just as much a business as businesses are a business. At times, I find rankings to be the result of arbitrary nit-picking for the sake of mantaining some romantic and vague illusion that there exist two kinds of schools: those of the prestigious and the rest.

    I chose my school based upon what I had heard from others: the quality of education, consensus employment rate of alumni, jobs available in the surrounding city, etc. I know that not everyone has this oppurtunity to find and/or seek out alumni to consult when considering a particular university, but I would recommend this over selection by ranking. I have no doubt in my mind that many (if not all) of these schools presented in the top 10, top 50 and elsewhere, lie about financial statements, research oppurtunities, and awards and accredition of its faculty and research staff, all for the sake of rank.
     
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