Rowan survey finds US News’ rankings don’t influence students

Rowan survey finds US News’ rankings don’t influence students

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Glassboro, NJ – Despite the media coverage the U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings will receive this weekend, a Rowan University survey has found they seem to have
Rankings to be released on Friday, Sept. 1

Glassboro, NJ – Despite the media coverage the U.S. News & World Report’s college
rankings will receive this weekend, a Rowan University survey has found they seem to have
little influence among college-bound high school students.

In an annual survey of its incoming freshmen, Rowan University discovered that <+>U. S.
News & World Report ranked dead last as both a source of information and usefulness,<+>
said Ed Ziegler, director of Marketing at Rowan University.

<+>Friends and relatives who attend the university were the most used sources of information
(23.1 percent), followed by high school guidance counselors (18.4 percent), admissions
publications (18.1 percent) and the University Web site (11.5 percent). U.S. News and
World Report was mentioned by less than 1 percent. As a matter of fact, none of the
college guides were mentioned by more than 2 percent of the freshmen.<+>

According to the survey, answered by 766 of Rowan’s 1,156 incoming freshmen, the most
helpful sources of information were Admissions publications, Admissions representatives,
friends and relatives who attend, and the university Web site.

It seems colleges themselves put more emphasis on rankings than do potential students by
using them for self-promotion. Many of the higher-ranking institutions trumpet their rank in
glossy publications and post them on their Web sites.

<+>In our discussions with potential applicants, we have found that students use rankings as
one of many tools to evaluate colleges,<+> Ziegler said. <+>Today’s high school seniors are much
too savvy to rely on one magazine’s opinion. They are more interested in such details as
location, cost and the ability to get a job after graduation.

<+>In the last seven years our ranking has remained essentially the same, but our applications
have risen by more than 60 percent. Our research shows this increase is due to the fact that
students are starting to appreciate the value offered by public universities and the efforts
these universities have made to improve their offerings. It is the quality of the product that
attracts students, not the college’s place on a list.<+>

According to Ziegler, <+>Rankings are part of our culture and ranking colleges is no exception.
With the right planning, colleges can make the U.S. News rankings ‘obsession’ work for
them. U.S. News puts a lot of emphasis on improving retention, spending more money on
faculty and increasing the graduation rate. If chasing the rankings means improving those
areas, the result would be good for everyone.<+>