新航道驻华盛顿小记者Avia将会给大家还原我和U.S. News执行主编Anita Narayan的对话全过程。全篇无任何杜撰，均来自实地采访，上图为证!
Avia：现在中国学生已经是美国大国际学生群体，大概可以占到全部留学生的三分之一。我自己作为留学美国的中国学生，非常清楚U.S. News排名在我们留学过程中的重要作用，无论是学生还是家长，都把U.S. News排名当做是选校的重要参考数据。那这个排名到底是如何算出的呢?U.S. News会考虑多少因素呢?每个因素又占多少比例呢?
Now Chinese students are the biggest international student group in the U.S., accounting for almost one third of all the international students in the country. As an international student myself, I know that your ranking has been a very important reference for us and our parents. So I am curious about how the ranking is compiled. For example, how many factors are there? what is the weight for each factor?
Anita：U.S. News排名专注于那些影响学校教学质量的因素。我们通过15个部分衡量学校的教育水平，包括课堂规模、校友资源、师资力量还有其他投入教学的经济资源等等。在这15个因素中，占30%比重的，是该学校学生的大二留校率和毕业率。我们想知道到底有多少大一新生选择在第二年继续留在这所学校，到底有多少学生成功毕业。除此之外，我们还很看重专家的意见，同类大学的权威人士是如何评价该学校的?所有这些都是影响U.S. News排名的重要因素，是它们反映出了学校为学生将来发展的准备工作做得如何，是它们帮助我们评价这所学校的教育质量。
The US News ranking looks at some measures that examine the academic quality of universities. We're looking at up to 15 factors such like class sizes, alumni giving, faculty members and other financial resources that the school puts in educating its students. Among them, the heaviest weigh, which is 30%, that we give in the methodology is student outcomes. We really want to look at the freshman return rate and the graduation rate. How many students choose to return in the second year and how many students actually graduate? We also look at experts' opinions meaning how do other colleges view those colleges in their same category. We do think that reputation matters. So these factors are extremely important for us to know how good of job is the school doing and how does this school prepare students and support students.
How are those data collected from the educational institutions? How does U.S. News make sure the source is accurate?
Well, I would say it is really an extensive process. I don't think people realize how long it usually takes to do this ranking. So for example, the ranking of 2017 will be published in September and we will start in January. It will be a 9 months' process. We will send a very extensive questionnaire to the universities that we are looking at in the U.S. and ask them to fill out this survey which will take some time. And they will be sent back to U.S. News so we can go through those data based on our methodology. Speaking of the accuracy, we really take as many measures as we can to verify the accuracy. So we actually have an assessment verification process. But I cannot explain it in detail because it doesn' t open to the public and this work belongs to our data team. We have great data collectors and data managers that work with those universities for over 30 years. They will make sure the accuracy of data collected from those universities by investigating themselves on campus and so on. If the data collected this time has a big difference compared with the data we collected before, for example the students number changes from 4,000 to 9,000, our system will remind us to verify this number.
Now there is a tendency that in China, the students and parents make their school choice only based on ranking. Since we don’t have many resources to know a certain school, a rather simple and quantitative method is easier for us to make decision. What kind of advice would you give to the students and parents in china, in terms of choosing their schools? How should they use the ranking in a smarter way? How can they look deeper into the ranking, and the things behind the ranking?
I'm an international student myself, so I totally understand the importance of ranking while we nearly have nothing else to look at. But there is an advice not only for Chinese students, but also for all students from overseas, that it is a huge mistake to use ranking as the only factor when you are looking for a college. It should only be your starting point. It may sound surprising because we are U.S. News and we do the ranking. But it is just a tool for our consumers. Other thing I want to mention is that you should look for the right fit. Except for the national universities ranking and liberal arts colleges ranking that many people know about, we actually publish up to 15 lists of ranking. So you can also look at the ranking that relates more and makes sense to you. For example, I know Chinese students are generally more interested in undergraduate engineer and undergraduate business programs. Those are the rankings that we actually have. Beyond that, we also publish the data that we collected from universities which are not in our ranking methodology. For example, we have a list for the universities with most international students. It's not a ranking, but a list we get by compiling our data.
Since there are so many Chinese students in the U.S., is there any thought by the U.S. news to compose a ranking dedicated for the Chinese students? for example, their favorite schools, their favorite majors, their favorite states or regions, best schools for future career development, etc.
We do know that there are a lot of Chinese students and parents pay attention to our website and look up the information they need. We actually have a resource center in China for those audiences. It helps us to translate articles about admission process, application agent and so on into Chinese. And we would love to do more in the future and we will see how will it go.
There are some criticisms out there for the U.S. News rankings. For example, in terms of the factors of the ranking, the salary level of students graduated from a certain school is not considered. How would you address those criticisms?
Anita：我想要强调的是：U.S. News做排名已经超过30年，所以反面意见对我们来说绝不是新鲜事。但是我相信我们正在做的事情是无可非议的。U.S. News关注的是学校的教学质量，所以我们不会过多的关注一些主观因素比如学生在校园里的生活质量、学校的宿舍环境等等。我们确实承认毕业学生的工资水平很重要，但我们不认为这可以显示和比较学校的教学水平。比如比较工程专业毕业生和社会学专业毕业生的工资水平会非常不客观。所以我相信现在我们计算在内的因素是合理的，如果你想要知道学校的教学质量，U.S. News排名将会是你很好的信息资源。
One thing keeping in mind is that we have been doing this for over 30 years, so criticism is not new for us. But I believe what we are doing is the right way to go. Let me emphasize one thing: academic quality is the one that we look at. So we don't look at subjective factors such like the students' life on campus, whether the school spends lots of money on building fancy dorms. We do realize that the salary level of students is truly important to look at. But we don't think this data is helpful to make comparison. For example, we cannot compare the salary of engineer graduates with that of the students who have a degree of sociology. We all know that they are going to be different. So we are looking at the factors that really matter. If you want to the academic excellence of universities, U.S. News should be a good choice to refer to.
不知道Anita的回答是否解决了大家的疑问?大家对U.S. News是否有全新的了解?上图是U.S. News的出版杂志，其中《Find The Best Colleges For You》是U.S. News 2016年的大手笔。这本美国大学的数据库到底涵盖了什么?留学生们可以从这些信息中得到什么?我们会在下次节目中为大家详细介绍。