The Flawed System of College Rankings: Why are we Giving in?

Elizabeth Field

UNH recently announced that according to a recent survey by RateMyProfessor.com, we have been ranked among the Top 25 universities nationally. While I understand that any positive press is well, positive press, UNH should not be subscribing to the ebb and flow of college ranking websites and publications. With the exception to RateMyProfessor.com, we are featured closer to the bottom according to sources like US News, Forbes Magazine, and College Prowler amongst others.

However, can we really consider RateMyProfessor.com an appropriate source for data? For those who are unfamiliar with this website, RateMyProfessor allows anyone to create an account and essentially “rate” their professors on clarity, helpfulness, easiness, and even features a little cayenne pepper graphic next to the professors students have deemed attractive. This website is essentially used and studied like the Bible while students are registering for classes, so it makes sense that our institution would be proud of the positive feedback they are receiving.

Regardless, RateMyProfessor.com is not a real ranking website!!! There is no formula, it is just lazy students criticizing the professors who ask them to learn and praising the professors who never show up to class. Here are a few gems featured on the website written by my esteemed peers about the professors who have the greatest impact on my learning experience: “Try to get her for the 8AM, she’s 15mins late every class due to her train,” “Class gets extremely boring so sit in the back, sign in, and bring some type of electronic to entertain you,” and my personal favorite: “Yes, he does look like Harry Potter. But overall, no problems in his class.”

College ranking systems are extremely flawed, reporting statistics that do not accurately account for a true college experience, allowing for a system for “top-tier schools” to maintain their reputations, and encouraging an increased priced for higher education. If I had given into these sources while considering attending UNH, I would have never made the 3,000 mile move.

A college as modern and diverse as UNH should not be subscribing to these statistics. College ranking systems do not account for research possibilities, athletics, community interaction, and extracurricular activities—the hallmark of our experimental education system. Although, US News does give a shout out to the Charger Bulletin as a mecca for “extracurricular fun!”

Bottom line: attending a university is a choice that should be based on personal fit. UNH is the perfect school for me because of the immense dedication of our faculty and staff, excellent resources like the CLR and Career Development Center that cannot compare to any other institution, and my amazing peers who make UNH the place I want to attend every single day, regardless if some outsider deemed us #1 or #1,000.