School Rankings: A Load of B.S.?

Dear Subscriber –

There’s a lot about those silly “Best College” lists that you don’t know.  Some colleges go to crazy lengths to prop up their rankings.  For example, last month the president of Emory University dislosed that they had intentionally falsfied their incoming students’ GPA and standardized test information…

As far back as 2000! 

EMORY Article

Suffice it to say, rankings do not necessarily tell the most accurate story about the quality of education at a given college.  A recent series of short pieces in the New York times explores why kids should pick colleges based on factors other than rank – I think you should check it out:  NYT Article

A quickie message from “Social” Andy Lockwood:

Hey, we’re on Facebook –  as of last week!  (No, we’re not exacty “Early Adopters.”)  At the risk of sounding needy, please “like” our new page!  It helps us spread the word about our workshops and other necessary info for stressed out parents of college-bound teens!

And…special thanks to All Star Intern Gabrielle Meyerowitz, Half Hollow Hills West, Class of 2013, for setting up the page!  It’s breathtakingly gorgeous!  (Can you guess what campus is featured in the picture?)

Many top-ranked colleges have gotten to the head of the class by understanding the rankings “formula” and positioning themselves to look better in the formulas.  Sure, they usually provide a quality education, but they don’t always provide an education SUPERIOR than lesser-ranked colleges.

So how else should you choose a college?  Let me tell you a story.

I’m working with a high school senior, “Grace” (not her real name), who is a top student:  great grades, SATs, outstanding resume.

Grace (still not her real name) goes to a large high school on the North Shore of Long Island, where a lot of kids apply to the same set of schools.  I’ll pause while you get over that stunner.

Grace wants to be a doctor, so she’s looking at top, “name brand” colleges with highly ranked pre-med programs.

But a few weeks ago, I requested that, while on a southern school tour with her dad, Grace check out a lesser-known college. The name of the school isn’t important, suffice it to say that it’s not on many rear window stickers on cars driving around these parts. 

Then I received a call from her dad a couple of days later.  “Andy,” he gushed, “we just finished up a tour of [College X] and were blown away. Do you know that 89% of their kids get into med school?  That’s better than some Ivies!”

Of course I played it cool, since that was the reason I recommended it.  (I believe my response was along the lines of, “Duh?”). 

Moral:  just because a college may not be on the tips of the various and sundry tongues in your neighborhood, school district, family barbeque, etc., does NOT mean that it’s off the radar of ’employers, admissions recruiters at grad schools or other important folks.

So don’t pick schools based on rankings alone!
Special “Client Shout Out” :  A hearty virtual handshake and special thanks to Karen Greene, of the great village of Glen Head, for all of the referrals she’s sent our way.  Thank you for spreading the word, especially the pointed, not-so-gentle lecture you laid upon an unnamed, unassuming  guidance counselor in the North Shore district about their shortcomings…not to mention the multi-paragraph letter you sent to the High School Principal with praise so fervent I blushed several times!   

As of now, I’m booked at four venues in October – two that are open to the public:  Gold Coast Library, October 9th and VFW – Syosset, October 18th, plus two private events for Portledge High School and Weston (CT) High School PTO. In November, I’ll be at the Sea Cliff Public Library and the Bryant Library in Roslyn.  If you know a PTO or other group that would benefit from my college financial aid information, please drop us an email and we’ll follow up!


As a reader of The College Success Bulletin, you”re entitled to a discounted membership in my recently revamped, low-cost, College Planning Guru Coaching Membership.  Watch this short video to see details.
You will be blown away by the state-of-the art college selection and merit scholarship-seeking tools that take the guesswork out of college planning.  This is a nice alternative to my private coaching/consulting services.

That’s it for this edition of The College Success Bulletin.  Drop me a line, tell me what you think!

Your Friendly College Planning Guru,

– Andy Lockwood

P.S.  We just posted our schedule of upcoming workshops  on college planning’s “dirty little secrets.”  There is no charge to attend, and we have space now, before our ads hit.  Go to: