Harvard Medical School Joins Boycott of US News Rankings

    Harvard Medical School Joins Boycott of US News Rankings
    Last updated Jan 19, 2023
    Image credit: New York Times


    • On Tuesday the dean of the faculty of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. George Daley, announced that the school no longer will submit data to US News & World Report's annual "best medical schools" ranking. It's the second graduate school from the university to boycott the list in recent months.[1]
    • Daley cited concerns about fairness and equity in withdrawing from the US News rankings, saying that "as unintended consequences, rankings create perverse incentives for institutions to report misleading or inaccurate data..."[2]
    • Last year, deans of prominent law schools announced that their universities would no longer participate in US News' annual law school rankings because of perceived flaws and the view that the rankings did not reflect the values of legal education. High-profile withdrawals prompted US News to make a number of changes in its methodology.[3]
    • US News & World Report has ranked colleges since 1983, a practice the organization defends as necessary in an era when college costs have spiraled out of control and students need a way to compare diverse academic institutions across a single common data set.[4]
    • Eric Gertler of US News, said that the company feels that students deserve access to all information necessary to make a school selection.[1]
    • In addition, Dean Daley wrote, “What matters most to me as dean, alumnus, and faculty member is not a #1 ranking, but the quality and richness of the educational experience we provide at Harvard Medical School that encourages personal growth and lifelong learning."[2]


    Narrative A

    US News college rankings may be the most prominent; however, its lists come with major flaws that can mislead impressionable prospective students and negatively impact their college application process. US News focuses far too much on outcomes and neglects students' quality of life, and the rankings perpetuate perceptions of prestige instead of rewarding universities that cater to their students' needs.

    Narrative B

    US News rankings have been the gold standard for school comparison and offer a very important and useful resource for students. No one claims the rankings to be gospel, and US News' mission is to provide students with more information as they look to make one of the most important decisions in their adult lives.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 31% chance that there will be fewer than 400 public 4-year colleges in the US by 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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