What exactly are US News and the College Board?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Ranking students: should schools use it and colleges stop considering it as a factor in admission?

Class ranking in high school is an archaic method of measuring students’ achievement. The system is flawed, to say the least, and takes focus away from effectively educating students. The ranking system creates a school environment where students concentrate on competition rather than education. Students who "do their homework" and figure out the system realize that they can take a course for an "easy A" and rank higher than a student who took a more difficult course and received a B. Not only is this unfair, but it discourages students from taking classes that will challenge them to reach their full potential. At schools that have eliminated the class system and instead instituted a “cum laude” program, school officials attest that the new system encourages students. Rather than avoiding difficult classes to help them inch closer to the # 1 position, students feel more free to take classes that will truly maximize their education. Eliminating the ranking system motivates students to work toward fulfilling their potential because it rewards students for their individual achievements. Even if schools do not eliminate the ranking system, something must be done to make the system a more accurate reflection of student performance. As it stands, students who take advanced placement classes are at a disadvantage – they take ore difficult courses than the rest of the student body but receive the same amount of credit in the ranking system as students who take easier classes. If the ranking system remains as it is at many of the nation's schools then advanced placement classes must receive more weight in the rank calculation (similar to the way in which AP classes are factored into the GPA). While some argue that doing away with the ranking system will produce lazy or stupid students, their claim is inaccurate. Over-achievers will do their bestno matter what. Even without a ranking system students who want to do or be their best will still compete against themselves and other students. Eliminating the ranking system will allow students who may not rank in the top 3 among their classmates to be rewarded and recognized for their individual successes. While schools may stop reporting the class rank, some colleges and scholarship applications request the information. It seems that even though a student’s rank does not reflect how well a student will do in college, some colleges view ranking as an important factor in the making an admission decision. This truly is an issue of what is best for our students. Is being # 1 more important than making sure that a student is prepared for what lies beyond high school? Pigeonholing students sends them a message about their ability. Placing value on a number, rather than the quality of education, we condemn students to mediocrity.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens


US News and World Report is news magazine -- similar to Time and Newsweek. US News has branched out into the "ranking" industry. Every year, it ranks colleges, law firms, hospitals, cars, vacations, etc. The College Board corporation is a company that sells and administers the following exams: PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject tests, and the Advanced Placement exams.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

News organization vs. nonprofit educational services company

US News has its top ranking corporate responsibilites, that is to make money as any other US corporations. College Board is the non profit educational services organization most recognizatable in the US and around the world where stardard tests are provided to students and schools. publications and research are also provided. US News provides the ultimate college selection ranking information that used by every single Chinese students and agencies for contracts. their ranking information has been enhanced with payment ranking accordingly by agencies in China. that's how the Chinese shopping for colleges and pay for agencies services based on rankings. how do you get the most of the US News is very different here as American students are more individualized and it is against their common sense to apply schools based on the rankings alone. we have many ways of recognize the excellences of what each college has to offer. that also explain why US counselors have no roles or places in China and faced the greatest challenge to work with Chinese families.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Quick Definitions

US News: A magazine that offered one of the first comprehensive rankings of colleges. Typically, "US News" related to the college admission process refers to their "Best Colleges" rankings which are published annually. College Board: A non-profit organization best known for their college entrance exam, SAT. College Board also developed the ubiquitous Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum, the Profile (a financial aid form), and the SAT subject tests. College Board's website offers a wealth of college admission resources which are often over-shadowed by the test administration component of the organization.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

US News/College Board

The US News and World Report is a magazine famous for it's college rankings (www.usnews.com). The College Board is a private company which administers the PSAT, SAT, SAT II's, and AP exams. www.collegeboard.com

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

U.S. News is a weekly newsmagazine which about 30 years ago, when it was running a weak third behind Time and Newsweek in circulation, began to began to offer a special college rankings report in one of its fall issues. The feature became so popular that it expanded into a full scale book whose annual appearance is awaited with interest by schools and readers alike. Indeed, its influence has been central to a changing approach to higher education, an approach characterized by rankings and quantifiable measurements. The U.S. News rankings have had a major impact on the increased role of marketing in higher education. Meanwhile, College Board is the organization that oversees the SAT and the AP programs, the source of some of the numbers that drive the rankings and the comparisons that are now so much a part of the college admission process. They are also a part of the financial aid process through their work with the Profile.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

US News & World Report is a world class magazine that publishes college rankings every year. The College Board in the home of more college info than you can imagine. It's also where you fill out the CSS for 200+ colleges that request this financial aid form.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

The College Board, which is headquartered in New York City, has been around for a long time. It is a membership association that was formed in 1900 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). The College Board is now composed of close to 6,000 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. The organization sells and provides for the administration of standardized tests used by academically oriented post-secondary education institutions to measure students' abilities. The College Board offers the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT Reasoning and Subject tests. The PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test): The PSAT is not used directly by colleges and universities when they make their college admissions decisions. A student's acceptance or rejection will usually (but not always) take into consideration the SAT or the ACT, which is administered by another organization. It is advisable, however, for a student to take the PSAT. Although the testing takes less time, it is structured in a way similar to the SAT, so that the student can gain a good sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in this kind of timed multiple-choice test situation. It is important to know that students who do very well when they take the test while in the 11th grade may be eligible for National Merit Scholarship awards or recognition. This recognition can then affect college admission, even though specific PSAT scores are not submitted. The SAT - SAT Reasoning tests are intended to measure a student's Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics capabilities. Many higher education institutions require either the SAT Reasoning test or the ACT as one of their admissions criteria because it is felt that there is a correlation between the standardized test scores and the student's later college success. The College Board also offers SAT Subject tests, which are required for admission to some institutions. These tests focus specifically on one subject - a language, biology, chemistry, mathematics, etc. There can be considerable differences among various colleges/universities with regard to the importance attributed to the standardized tests in making their admissions decisions, as well as their individual test requirements. A small, but growing, group of colleges/universities, for instance, have decided not to require standardized testing scores (SAT and ACT) from their applicants at all because they feel that the tests are culturally biased and are not representative of a student's ability to succeed in college. US News & World Report The US News & World Report is a news media outlet which has been publishing under that name since 1948. Since 1983, the organization has published yearly comprehensive rankings of a wide range of colleges/universities, now also including graduate schools, high schools, and other institutions. Many factors are taken into consideration when determining the rankings - types of schools, location, acceptance rate, financial aid offerings, and so on. A student might see some of these factors as being of greater or lesser importance to him/her. There has been considerable controversy over the actual value of rankings, in that it is difficult to fit the human factor into the equation - the personal needs/personality of each student. Just because an institution is highly ranked doesn't necessarily mean that it would be the best place for any given student to study.

Jenn Cohen
Owner Jenn Cohen Tutoring

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

US News is an online news magazine whose claim to fame for many years has been it's annual college rankings lists. While the rankings are useful in a general sense (i.e. a top 25 school is probably better than one that's ranked 150), they change annually. Schools at the top of the list are constantly obsessing over changes in their rankings, when in reality the quality of a school just doesn't change all that much from year to year. Use the rankings as a broad guide to selecting colleges to investigate, but don't let them influence your final decision! The College Board is the organization that creates and administers the SAT. The College Board website has a wealth of information about colleges and college planning, as well as a lot of free SAT prep resources. Every student taking the SAT should be signed up for their "question of the day" email for daily practice! The College Board also publishes the Official SAT Study Guide, which is a must for SAT prep.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What exactly are US News and the College Board?

Both US News and College Board are sources of information often used during the college search. US News uses rankings that help sell newspapers, but it's methodology remains suspect. They look at inputs vs. outcomes, i.e. average scores of incoming class rather than statistics on the graduating class. The College Board also administers the infamous SAT. It is a not-for-profit focused on educational issues.