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They love us! They really love us!

Posted by on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in College Rankings.

The US News & World Report Best Graduate school rankings are out and the good news is there’s some serious love for Vanderbilt.

As I wrote before, though, rankings are subjective based on the data you choose to evaluate.  My recommendation to all prospective students is to determine your values first and then seek information specific to those items.  For example, do you value the percentage of grads entering public service?  US News doesn’t so that information doesn’t factor into their ratings, but it may be very important to you if you’re planning on law school.

If you’re interested in how the rankings work, I highly encourage Malcolm Gladwell’s recent New Yorker article, “The Order of Things: What college rankings really tell us”. In it Gladwell argues that it is nonsensical to compare different types of institutions (for instance Yeshiva University v. University of Texas – Austin).  He also faults the rankings for crunching many different factors (such as graduate rates and faculty resources) into a single number.  Finally, Gladwell points out that the rankings are a self-fulfilling prophecy: the schools you expect to be at the top appear at the top because “reputation” is heavily weighted.

All in all, it’s fun to be at the top, but I think there are richer ways to show Vanderbilt is a great education.

Now back to the good news: according to US News & World Report, Vanderbilt rocks.  Below is how our graduate schools fared in the 2012 rankings:

* Photo courtesy of 365@VU

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  • Affirmations Guy

    March 21st, 2011

    Cool to see how Vanderbilt measures up! Of course school rankings are highly subjective like you said, and what really matters is what people make of the education they have.