Our opinion is that school rankings skew the system and despite what were probably good intentions by the people who thought them up, they don’t help anyone, mostly because they reinforce this idea of “I must get into a good school in order to be a good person.”
No, that’s not the literal, conscious thought that runs through anyone’s mind. But it’s essentially where the whole thing comes from. If you go to a great school, then automatically you have been bestowed with worth and value in the world.
Two articles came across our desks very recently that are worth sharing.
One is a bit tongue in cheek: A high school counselor whose job is to help kids get into college originally compared the process to The Hunger Games, and then yesterday wrote an opinion piece titled “I’m sick of reading about golden kids getting into Harvard. Here’s the story I want to see.” The tl;dr is, there’s all these other great colleges that are totally worthwhile – dubbed “Colleges that Change Lives” – which are overlooked in the hype around Harvard and Stanford et al.
The more important article is this one: “Why We Stopped Participating In US News’ Medical School Rankings” which was written by the deans of two medical schools and appeared in a health journal. That headline says it all, but it’s worth copying in some key phrases:
- Why would they not want to participate in the rankings?
“After scrutinizing what is known about the process, we concluded that continued participation is a disservice to medical school applicants.”
“The medical school rankings have no practical value and fail to meet standards of journalistic ethics.”
- What’s the problem with the process?
It was studied by academics 15 years ago who found the USNews rankings “are ill-conceived; are unscientific; are conducted poorly; ignore medical school accreditation; judge medical school quality from a narrow, elitist perspective; and do not consider social and professional outcomes in program quality calculations.”
- Are you two dudes the only ones who feel this way?
At a conference five years ago, the dean of Yale’s med school said: “I think what’s frustrating everybody … is that there’s nothing really in [U.S. News’] formula that is really evaluating the quality of medical education. That would be so much more useful to the applicants, to the students. And it would incentivize us to do a better job in education.”
All that was just in the first few paragraphs.
EssaySnark has no knowledge of the med school space and we don’t know if this will have any impact at all. These schools are – wait for it – not highly ranked so does anyone really care whether they’re participating in the rankings or not?
In this article at the Washington Post, the main guy at USNews has offered a response (scroll halfway down to find it). He states that their methodology for medical school rankings no longer weighs the students’ GPA or MCAT scores, which, as he says, means that “medical schools don’t have any incentive to favor applicants with super-high MCAT scores and GPAs.”
That is NOT how it works with the USNews bschool rankings . We don’t know the history with the med school rankings or why USNews changed them, and we’re not well informed enough to say anything about whether that change has had an impact on their applicants or that overall market. Every now and then you hear about a bschool who decides to opt out of the rankings system and in all the cases that we’re aware of, they’ve always been lesser-known schools.
The higher-ranked schools have no incentive to opt out. Why would they? They’re higher-ranked.
We will continue to watch with interest and see if this world may change.