Chides OC View of U.S. News
I first arrived here at Oberlin College 4 years ago I learned about
the U.S. News college ranking system. Being a new football coach,
and knowing the poor history or Oberlin football in the 90’s,
I was curious to see how these rankings had changed over the 90’s.
I had a hunch that in 1989, the last year the Football team had
a multi win season (prior to last), Oberlin would also have a higher
U.S. News ranking. I found that Oberlin ranked #9 overall. Now isn’t
What I find interesting is not the rankings, but reactions to them
such as that of Scott Wargo, and many others. US News and World
Report fails to recognize the Colleges culture, its diversity.”
Correct. This subjective evaluation is not part of the ranking.
But, are we trying to justify mediocrity? A statement like Wargo’s
is similar to blaming the refs when we lose a football game. We
either don’t care, or need to improve.
The only subjective evaluation made on the rankings is “peer
assessment score” aka academic reputation. On average, College
Presidents believe that Oberlin is in the top 30 of all academic
institutions nation-wide. This has not changed since the rankings
began. People continue to believe that Oberlin College presents
a rigorous academic curriculum
Where Oberlin fails is in customer satisfaction, a.k.a. alumni giving.
Oberlin has failed to receive consistent significant financial support
from its alumni, relative to other higher-ranking institutions.
Why does this happen? One possibility is that Oberlin students aren’t
particularly concerned with making money after college, and therefore
don’t have any to give. Perhaps, Oberlin admits students who
do not have the personality traits to drive them to make a lot of
money after graduation. Perhaps Oberlin College graduates make a
ton of money but don’t feel that their Oberlin education contributed
to their success.
Does Oberlin College care? As we search for ways to reduce spending
by cutting programs that we enjoy, I think it would be valuable
to find out what needs be done to increase alumni giving. We would
benefit by having our programs, and by climbing back up the rankings
of the National Liberal Arts College.
Assistant Football Coach
Men’s Lacrosse Coach