Organizations such as U.S. News
take it upon themselves to release annual rankings
of U.S. colleges
Despite using sophisticated techniques, this attempt to assign numerical values to the quality of an educational institution is highly subjective. Unfortunately, this does not stop prospective college students from relying heavily upon the rankings.
As a result, in order to attract more applicants, some univerisities administer to the rankings, attempting to increase those numbers that U.S. News has arbitrarily deemed more important.
The rankings also become a source of pride for some students, particularly those attending "top 25" schools. Many students know where their school is ranked, and anxiously await the new rankings to see if they moved up.