How Important are College Rankings?

Hate em or love em, it is impossible to deny that college ranking systems have caused some strong feelings in academia. While some schools ignore ranking systems and may even refuse to participate in them, others love to flaunt their rankings, both overall and in specific programs. The question of how to pick a college in the face of countless ranks and stats can be daunting but don’t despair it isn’t as complicated as it looks.


When trying to determine how much weight to give to ranks and statistics, be aware of how they work. Most systems rank schools on several criteria: peer assessment, student retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation performance, and alumni giving. Based on a combination of a school’s essay score in these categories, the university or college is ranked appropriately.


As a result, these rankings can be quite useful for a number of purposes. For example, if you want to work in a field in which the school you went to is given high importance by potential employers, such as law or business, use these rankings to pick out highly ranked colleges. A well-recognized school on your resume may give you a leg up on the competition when it comes time to get a job or apply to graduate degree programs. For other fields, such as the liberal arts, social programs, and others, national rankings may be pointless and it makes far more sense to choose the school that is right for you regardless of rank.


Also be aware that these factors have historically favored private schools, as public schools place higher emphasis and importance on diversity and in-state admission. As a result, public schools student-selectivity ratings are often lower than private schools. Many private schools also have well-developed fundraising programs, which can boost their alumni-giving rankings.


It is, therefore, important to remember that otherwise excellent public schools may seem low in national or international rankings systems.


Remember that every student is different, and rankings systems serve only as a guide and, even then, only to some people, in the quest to pick the right university or college. Also note that higher-ranked schools are often more competitive and, therefore, more difficult to achieve top-level grades at. In the end, however, you should choose the college that is right for you overall, not just the one with the highest ranking.

Afterschool Concerns


Desert Ridge Community:

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010 KRQE Channel 13 ran a story which showed our school and community in a negative light.On Friday, September 10, there was a fight after school, in the arroyo off Anaheim between Barstow and Wyoming.There were students present at the fight and it was recorded and posted on YouTube by one of the students.The students depicted in the video, both those fighting and those who were watching who could be identified, were disciplined.

The news report brings to light two issues: knowing what our children are doing after school and how they are using their cell phones.A majority of our students ride the bus, are picked up by parents, bike or walk home after school daily as expected. They have earned your trust to make appropriate decisions of knowing where they should or should not be.Cliff’fs Amusement Park ran an advertisement this summer stating, “If you don’t entertain them, they will entertain themselves.”I believe this statement is accurate.Allowing children, at any age, to be unsupervised in unstructured activities will inevitably have negative consequences; they need to know your expectations of where they are to spend their time after school.

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Please take a few minutes this evening to discuss with your child where you want them to be and put in place procedures for them to follow.They are reaching an age where they want their freedom, but they are also middle school students and need your guidance.

The second issue is the use of phones.Please establish norms so that you are checking your child’s phone for messages, videos and texts.They are very skilled in the use of technology which creates several opportunities for inappropriate things to occur.Please refer to the APS policy on cell phones at the APS web page. Below is the policy in sum:

 a. Possessing, viewing, sending or sharing video or audio information having sexual, violent or threatening content on school grounds, school events or school busses is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the personal technology device while the student is:   on school grounds, at school sponsored events, or on school buses or other vehicles provided by APS

 b. Transmitting school materials for unethical purposes such as cheating.

We all love our children–please love them enough to have in place guidelines and defined limits.Your children are learning to make choices.Helping them know where they should or shouldn’t be is a learned skill.These skills that they are developing will serve them well when they are in a situation where they need to make the right choice.

Thank you for all of your support and the time that you put into raising your children.They need you and your wisdom daily.


Troy Hughes, Principal