‘NYT’ College Poll: Rankings Weak — And Students Not Having Enough Fun

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By: E&P Staff

A new national poll of recent college graduates by The New York Times Magazine and mtvU suggests that high school seniors anxious about their college choices ought to relax and forget rankings.

The poll is a main feature of The New York Times Magazine College Issue, which is coming out on Sunday. The poll was conducted June 15-23, supplemented by online surveys of students at three schools.

But recent graduates also offered some surprising regrets: as a Times summary puts it, “they didn?t socialize enough, play enough, have fun and or take full advantage of extra-curricular activities offered by the school while 18 percent regretted not taking school seriously enough and playing too much.”

Jim Schachter, deputy editor, The New York Times Magazine, said he hoped that this special issue ?shows students and parents that they can get past the drumbeat of worry, anxiety and anticipation that comes with choosing a college. If we?ve learned anything from our poll, it?s the message that those in the process should relax a little and think more about the qualities they are seeking in a college experience than the bragging rights that come with admission to any particular school.?

In the national poll, 93 percent of recent graduates rated their experience as ?excellent? or ?good.? Looking back, 42 percent said magazine rankings of undergraduate colleges were less
important now. Almost 9 in 10 said college was worth the money.

Times reporter Jacques Steinberg writes of the poll results that critics of college lists ?are onto something: maybe the devaluing of the rankings can serve as a tonic to the unrelenting obsession they foster among many applicants and their parents.?

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