Samuel L. Stanley, president of Stony Brook University, argues that high school students and their families should consider opportunities for social mobility when applying to college, not arbitrary college rankings, in this opinion piece for Inside Higher ED.
“It is at the very heart of American values that if you work hard and get a good education, you can achieve more than what your parents or their parents dreamed,” he wrote. "And while social mobility is one of the most transformative purposes of a college education, traditional rankings don’t tell us much about it.
“If websites, guidebooks and media surveys that publish and promote college rankings really want to do justice for students and parents who use these tools to evaluate which school can best help access success, they should focus more on social mobility and less on peer sentiment, alumni fund-raising or anecdotal opinion surveys,” he added. “We are educating students to thrive in the real world, and that’s why real-world outcomes should be our most important benchmark.”