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17 JAN 2023
After law school rankings, now it seems medical school rankings are under scrutiny. Harvard Medical School has announced it will not supply data to US News & World Report for the “best medical school” ranking. After several top law schools quit the rankings system, the publication recently announced certain changes to its methodology. Harvard Medical School’s move is a reflection of the growing trend of elite institutions devaluing the importance of these rankings, which have traditionally played a significant role in shaping the decisions of prospective students.
George Daley, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, due to concerns that the rankings create incentives for institutions to report inaccurate data and that the suitability of a medical school for a student is too complex to be reflected in a ranked list.
As unintended consequences, rankings create perverse incentives for institutions to report misleading or inaccurate data, set policies to boost rankings rather than nobler objectives, or divert financial aid from students with financial need to high-scoring students with means in order to maximize ranking criteria. Ultimately, the suitability of any particular medical school for any given student is too complex, nuanced, and individualized to be served by a rigid ranked list, no matter the methodology.
In the 2023 medical school rankings, Harvard Medical School was ranked first for research and ninth for primary care.
Dean Daley said that Harvard will continue to share key information on its admissions website to help prospective students understand the institution better. He also directed students to check raw, unweighted details for all U.S. medical schools, including Harvard Medical School, via the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) Reports for Applicants and Advisors, part of the Association of American Medical Colleges website.
College rankings have always come under fire by critics for improper methodology. Columbia university dropped from No. 2 to No. 18 following a change in some of the data they had provided. Following the exodus by several top law schools, US News announced they would be changing their methodology to incorporate some of the problems cited by the institutions. It remains to be seen whether medical school rankings will also be reformed or whether other institutions will quit the rankings as well.