Monday, December 17, 2007

How should black students rank colleges?

Written by Ashley Finigant at

For high school seniors across the country, this time of year does not just bring the joy of the holiday season, but also the anxiety of impending college application deadlines. And for many high achieving students, the yearly rankings provided by US News and World Report is the academic bible they swear on. Although these rankings can be very helpful, in turning a student on to a school they've never heard of or shedding light on their top choice; for the most part, the ranking system provided by this magazine is heavily biased. Stanford and MIT will always be on top. Furthermore, other academic power houses are left in the dark, overshadowed by eight universities in the Northeast (better known as the Ivy League, aka, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Brown and Dartmouth). The rankings have rankled many academics as well, and many schools have even elected to drop the system all together.

So where is the talented student of color to turn in search of a ranking system they can trust? Well the easy answer is: all ranking systems are biased and flawed and the only way to truly find a college that fits is to do a search based on one's needs and preferences. But if short on time and resources, the following should help...

The Black Enterprise list of top 50 Colleges for African-Americans
Not only does this magazine rank HBCU favorites, but also gives some shine to the overlooked liberal arts colleges.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education ranking of America's leading universities
Methodical and precise. The editors of this publication offer a wholistic approach to ranking universities with black students in mind and their interests at heart.

and while it isn't an academic ranking per se, the JBHE did another ranking on acceptance rates for black students at liberal arts colleges. (my plug for the liberal arts, lets do like DuBois and learn for edification and learnings sake).

And parting words to the wise - do not live and die by any ranking system, no matter who compiled it based on whatever data. College is college is college. Knowledge is the same everywhere, it all depends of what you make of it and where it takes you. That and loans.

Ashley Finigan is a staff writer for

1 comment:

Ebony said...

Thanks for writing this.