Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

College rankings as a marketing tool in line with Carleton’s values?

< the Editors:

I enjoyed your reflection last week on Carleton’s humility with regards to the issue of Claremont McKenna’s false SAT scores. However, Carleton’s relationship to college rankings has recently become a little more complicated than your editorial implied.

Carleton has always submitted data to the US News and World Report, but on January 26th, we began to advertise our “#1 for undergraduate teaching” ranking on our website (click on the tab that says “Prospective Students”).

This ranking ought to be removed from the Carleton website and from our admissions materials. It is not compiled using the same data as regular school rankings, but it remains deeply problematic. Carleton does offer an incredibly high-quality undergraduate liberal arts education. But it’s troubling to think that we can somehow quantify the teaching that goes on here, and publicizing our ranking rides completely against our campus ethos.

Interestingly, the Office of Admissions has written a nice piece saying college rankings don’t matter (which you can see on the blogs section of the admissions page). It’s hypocritical and un-Carleton-like for us to both condemn the rankings but also use them for self-promotion. The issue of how we ought to treat rankings has both pragmatic and moral implications for our campus, and it deserves a place in our conversation.

As members of the Carleton community, we have the chance to affirm what kind of place Carleton should be. It’s easy, now that we are college students, to stop thinking about admissions. That doesn’t mean that what happens in the way the college markets itself doesn’t affect students who apply here, and it also doesn’t mean that Carleton won’t be affected in turn. It is time for us, as a campus, to take a hard look at our own relationship to rankings.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *