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Do USNWR Rankings help the elite?

tringo335tringo335 Alum Member

Politico just came out with a scathing report on USNWR and I am wondering if it is accurate to Law School rankings. The link to the article is below (ignore the political slant - I'm assuming they added that in the title for clickbait as the majority of the article is not political).

http://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/top-college-rankings-list-2017-us-news-investigation/

Comments

  • sillllyxosillllyxo Legacy Member
    708 karma

    wow interesting about georgia state - did not know that - what a great and innovative program.

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    edited September 2017 3521 karma

    To me the rankings are kind of silly...US News and World Report weights "Reputation" as 40% of a school's ranking score. How in the world are smaller or newer universities supposed to compete with that?

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    edited September 2017 756 karma

    @"Paul Caint" said:
    To me the rankings are kind of silly...US News and World Report weights "Reputation" as 40% of a school's ranking score. How in the world are smaller or newer universities supposed to compete with that?

    In fairness, part of the reasoning for that is because that reputation does open a lot of doors career wise because everyone knows "that's a great school, you must be great too". It's not true of course, especially with undergrad everyone is using the same books and learning the same things (hell, I'd argue that more prestigious universities are actually worse because those big name professors are only there for their research and not their teaching prowess, this just ends up working out for them because they do recruit a lot of students who can make up for bad teaching), but when ranking a university for the effect it might have on job prospects etc, larger more established universities are always going to be better than smaller/newer universities. The small school might be good, but the odds of recruiters / managers having heard of that school or worked with people from that school is by definition, smaller.

    Anecdotally I've interviewed a candidate for a programming job from MIT who was awful, but management was so excited about getting someone from MIT that they passed them on to the next round anyway. Eventually having enough people tell them they weren't a good candidate they wised up, but it took a while.

  • Freddy_DFreddy_D Monthly Member
    2978 karma

    It's a popularity contest, and schools LOVE to win. UCLA tied with Berkeley this year in the public school rankings, and I've received three or four emails from UCLA celebrating this "accomplishment."

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @kkrystyna said:
    wow interesting about georgia state - did not know that - what a great and innovative program.

    IKR I thought the same. Very impressive.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @Freddy_D said:
    It's a popularity contest, and schools LOVE to win. UCLA tied with Berkeley this year in the public school rankings, and I've received three or four emails from UCLA celebrating this "accomplishment."

    Very true; it's really sad though that great schools are overlooked because they don't have the funds to climb the ranks. I once read that Law Schools are the only places where ranking is valuable because of the prestige. Reading this made me even more annoyed that I have to get into a T14 school and pay all that money just for a name. Really hoping for a scholly even more now.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @"Mitchell-1" said:

    @"Paul Caint" said:
    To me the rankings are kind of silly...US News and World Report weights "Reputation" as 40% of a school's ranking score. How in the world are smaller or newer universities supposed to compete with that?

    In fairness, part of the reasoning for that is because that reputation does open a lot of doors career wise because everyone knows "that's a great school, you must be great too". It's not true of course, especially with undergrad everyone is using the same books and learning the same things (hell, I'd argue that more prestigious universities are actually worse because those big name professors are only there for their research and not their teaching prowess, this just ends up working out for them because they do recruit a lot of students who can make up for bad teaching), but when ranking a university for the effect it might have on job prospects etc, larger more established universities are always going to be better than smaller/newer universities. The small school might be good, but the odds of recruiters / managers having heard of that school or worked with people from that school is by definition, smaller.

    Anecdotally I've interviewed a candidate for a programming job from MIT who was awful, but management was so excited about getting someone from MIT that they passed them on to the next round anyway. Eventually having enough people tell them they weren't a good candidate they wised up, but it took a while.

    Like @Freddy_D said it becomes a popularity contest. :(

  • rafaelitorafaelito Alum Member
    1063 karma

    Thanks for this article @tringo335 . Higher education is fucked up in this country!! Law schools too. :( Georgia is awesome though. I will tell my young fam who lives there about it. :)

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @RafaelBernard said:
    Thanks for this article @tringo335 . Higher education is fucked up in this country!! Law schools too. :( Georgia is awesome though. I will tell my young fam who lives there about it. :)

    My balloon was a little deflated as well after reading this ... but I'll try to stay positive and play the game.

  • OlamHafuchOlamHafuch Alum Member
    2326 karma

    @tringo335 said:

    @RafaelBernard said:
    Thanks for this article @tringo335 . Higher education is fucked up in this country!! Law schools too. :( Georgia is awesome though. I will tell my young fam who lives there about it. :)

    My balloon was a little deflated as well after reading this ... but I'll try to stay positive and play the game.

    Yeah, unfortunately, the best way to remain an idealist is to stick your head in the sand. It's too bad.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @uhinberg said:

    @tringo335 said:

    @RafaelBernard said:
    Thanks for this article @tringo335 . Higher education is fucked up in this country!! Law schools too. :( Georgia is awesome though. I will tell my young fam who lives there about it. :)

    My balloon was a little deflated as well after reading this ... but I'll try to stay positive and play the game.

    Yeah, unfortunately, the best way to remain an idealist is to stick your head in the sand. It's too bad.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  • OlamHafuchOlamHafuch Alum Member
    2326 karma

    @tringo335 said:

    @uhinberg said:

    @tringo335 said:

    @RafaelBernard said:
    Thanks for this article @tringo335 . Higher education is fucked up in this country!! Law schools too. :( Georgia is awesome though. I will tell my young fam who lives there about it. :)

    My balloon was a little deflated as well after reading this ... but I'll try to stay positive and play the game.

    Yeah, unfortunately, the best way to remain an idealist is to stick your head in the sand. It's too bad.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    Yup. But sooner or later, you learn the realities, and the real heroes are those who don't become irretrievably jaded because of those realities.

  • Tavorak_Tavorak_ Member
    115 karma

    Another issue is the devotion to legacy students (for alumni donations). Harvard's undergrad class of 2021 is 29.3% legacy. I'd be interested to see the percent of law school legacy students.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @deansr said:
    Another issue is the devotion to legacy students (for alumni donations). Harvard's undergrad class of 2021 is 29.3% legacy. I'd be interested to see the percent of law school legacy students.

    I am so curious about this as well. I wonder if there is any data out there for this.

  • smseraj3smseraj3 Alum Member
    162 karma

    This a big reason I use Above the Law. US News worries about things that don't make a difference. I think the main reason people go to law school is to get a stable job, ATL values employment outcomes the most so I believe its the most valid ranking site.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    @smseraj3 said:
    This a big reason I use Above the Law. US News worries about things that don't make a difference. I think the main reason people go to law school is to get a stable job, ATL values employment outcomes the most so I believe its the most valid ranking site.

    Thanks for sharing. I'll check them out.

  • kvbusbeekvbusbee Legacy Member
    99 karma

    @smseraj3 said:
    This a big reason I use Above the Law. US News worries about things that don't make a difference. I think the main reason people go to law school is to get a stable job, ATL values employment outcomes the most so I believe its the most valid ranking site.

    I'm going to second this. The US News law school rankings are also slightly b.s. because they mainly take into account lsat scores and gpa's of entering students. The ATL rankings take into account bar passage rate, how many students graduate and get law jobs, debt to starting income ratio, among other factors. The kinds of things law school students should really care about when looking at schools. You'll see some overlap, between the two lists, but you'll also see some schools move up in the ATL rankings.

    http://abovethelaw.com/law-school-rankings/top-law-schools/

  • smseraj3smseraj3 Alum Member
    edited September 2017 162 karma

    @tringo335 @kvbusbee

    This is ATL's methodology:
    EMPLOYMENT SCORE (30%)
    We only counted full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage (excluding solos and school-funded positions). Look, we know that there are some great non-lawyer jobs out there for which a J.D. is an “advantage.” It's not as if these jobs don't count, it's that they can't be compared in a meaningful way. The definition of "J.D. Advantage" changes from year to year and is based on a self-reported metric that defies independent third-party verification. One school's apples is another school's oranges, but we're not going to count lemons.

    QUALITY JOBS SCORE (30%)
    This measures the schools’ success at placing students on career paths that best enable them to pay off their student debts. We’ve combined placement with the country’s largest and best-paying law firms and the percentage of graduates embarking on federal judicial clerkships. These clerkships typically lead to a broader and enhanced range of employment opportunities.

    EDUCATION COST (15%)
    Solid data on individual law student educational debt is hard to come by. Published averages exist, but the crucial number, the amount of non-dischargeable government funded or guaranteed educational loan debt, is not available. So as a proxy for indebtedness, we’ve scored schools based on total cost. Data courtesy of Law School Transparency.

    SCOTUS CLERK & FEDERAL JUDGESHIP SCORES (5% EACH)
    Though obviously applicable to very different stages of legal careers, these two categories represent the pinnacles of the profession. For the purposes of these rankings, we simply looked at a school's graduates as a percentage of (1) all U.S. Supreme Court clerks (since 2010) and (2) currently sitting Article III judges. Both scores are adjusted for the size of the school. Obviously, we are aware that for the vast majority of students, Supreme Court clerkships or the federal bench are simply not prospects. But for the students who do want to be judges and academics, this outcome represents a useful separating factor for the most elite schools. Some schools put you in robes, others can't.

    ATL ALUMNI RATING (5%)
    This is the only non-public component of our rankings. Our ATL Insider Survey asks students and alumni to rate their schools in terms of academics, financial aid advising, career services advising, social life, and clinical training. For the purposes of the ATL Top 50, we only counted the alumni ratings, as that was more in keeping with our “outcomes only” approach.

    DEBT-PER-JOB RATIO (10%)
    A comparison between the indebtedness of a school’s graduates to the number of actual legal jobs they obtain.

    US News Methodology:
    25.00% - Peer Assessment Score
    15.00% - Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges
    14.00% - Employment Rate 9 mos. After Graduation
    12.50% - Median LSAT Scores
    10.00% - Median UGPA
    9.75% - Average instruction, library, and supporting services
    4.00% - Employment Rate at Graduation
    3.00% - Student/Faculty Ratio
    2.50% - Acceptance Rate
    2.00% - Bar Passage Rate
    1.50% - Financial Aid
    .75% - Library Resources

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