By the Editorial Board
This week, the U.S. News released their infamous and highly anticipated Best Colleges rankings, and Canisius slipped into a sturdy #22 spot for Universities in the North. While this rank is shared with Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., it offers an exciting leap from Canisius’s rank last year of #26 on the same list. Four spaces up is a great shift, of course, but what do these numbers really mean?
If you were to ask any even partially-informed student on Canisius’s campus about the changes in campus climate this year, they’d be eager to tell you about the tension surrounding our administration following some of the choices they’ve made regarding budget cuts, department downsizing, and professors who have been asked to step down. The College is changing right under our feet and we’re not sure what to make of it.
What’s more, freshman enrollment and upperclassman retention are both decreasing consistently from year to year. It’s undisputed that Canisius is getting smaller; whether this shift in the size of the school is going to hurt the experience is yet to be determined.
So, how did Canisius do in relation to comparable colleges in the area? Niagara tied with another school for #46, Buffalo State secured #120 (also a tie), and the University at Buffalo came in at #97 (also a tie), while D’Youville and Medaille don’t have published rankings.
Objectively, Canisius did extremely well. This ranking is something to be proud of, and something that Canisius’s marketing team will certainly utilize in the future to promote the College on billboards and marketing brochures alike. They will definitely have to change the billboard on Main St. soon because we are no longer #8 on the list of best value schools, but one step down at #9.
Even though the newly-released ranking and the actual realities of campus life might not align perfectly, why does it matter at all? Inherently, the numbers and rankings are somewhat arbitrary and up for interpretation by those who are affected by the release.
That being said, it’s important because people make it important. The fact that the U.S. News says that Canisius College outranks hundreds of other colleges in the North will be publicized by Canisius and by other college-oriented sources to be consumed by prospective students until next year when the next list comes out. For the next twelve months, Canisius will hold this place given to it by a group of people with no actual knowledge of what the Canisius community looks like.
Of course, this could be interpreted as a blessing or a curse. Perhaps its high rank will encourage individuals to apply to Canisius, bolstering freshman enrollment. However, what happens when those students come to school only to find out that their program is in jeopardy of being cut before they graduate? In this hypothetical scenario, the #22 spot might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Certainly, it’s foolish to think that anyone would choose a college solely based on that school’s rank in the Top Colleges list, but it might play a role in some prospective students’ final decisions.
While we at The Griffin want so much for Canisius College to have earned its place as the 22nd best university in the North, it’s important to understand that this may not be a reality. Hopefully in the coming years, we will continue to grow and change for the better until our rank truly does reflect the reality of our campus.