Another day (another hour?), another Election Poll. State Polls. National Polls. Morning Polls. Evening Polls. Polls of groups, genders, parties, you name it. Presidential Polls. Senate Polls. Polls of Polls. Why, I think I even saw a Maypole thrown in there.

An article appeared in the recent edition of New York Magazine, not exactly extolling polls, but rather, detailing how polls have become as much a part of the daily political landscape as radio and TV spots proclaiming, "...and I approve this message," and given their random nature, obscure methodology, questionable sampling, and so forth, have been rendered about as meaningless as they are numerous. Read, The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense.

And then there are those College Rankings. Not quite as numerous, perhaps, but, to those who choose to read between the lines -- or on them -- just as senseless. Best public colleges. Best private colleges. Best party schools. Best food on campus. Best extra long dorm mattress. And on they go.

We've rambled on about -- and mostly against -- taking the rankings (or any of them) seriously, questioning not only their veracity and appropriateness (as if one size college fits and fills all), but also, their impact upon higher education in general, and upon colleges that, for reasons lame or logistic, simply did not rank high on the list, if rank at all.

Even the main stream media -- ala The New York Times -- has railed against taking the college Rankings too seriously, going so far as to call them "silly." See, The College Rankings Racket. [And if you read it in The New York Times, certainly it must be true! :-)]

And yet, both the Polls and the Rankings persist. Incessant. Impervious to scrutiny. Inane and, while seemingly innocuous, preying upon our emotions, our thought processes, our desires and, sometimes, our very will to log onto the Internet or open that magazine.

Are they accurate? Are they biased? [Sometimes it is difficult to tell Rasmussen from Rove -- literally!] And when the twain shall meet, as in distinguishing Quinnipiac, the Poll from Quinnipiac, the university... Oh boy!

Notwithstanding our disdain for both Polls and Rankings, we (that's the editorial "we") relentlessly harp upon them, call attention to them, dissect them and, in instances both critical and whimsical, draw upon them in our decision-making.

What more can be said than to take the Polls and the Rankings with that proverbial grain of salt. [Morton's should be raking it in by now!] Mileage may vary, even in the best of 'em. Still, they are fun to look at, interesting to talk about, and of great value -- especially when it comes to selling newspapers, magazines and air-time.

Just remember -- As in the old adage, the only poll that counts is on election day (so be sure to vote) and, as concerns those college rankings, to paraphrase the great and powerful Oz (the Wizard, not the Doctor), pay no attention to those lists between the magazine covers!

I'm The College Whisperer, and I approve this message.

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . .

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