Opinion: There’s only one college rankings list that matters

DURHAM, N.C. — Within a few months of joining the faculty at Duke University in 2021, I could spot them: the high school seniors, juniors and even sophomores on their pilgrimages to our verdant and coveted wonderland, with its Gothic Revival spires, ecstatic basketball fans and acceptance rate of 6 percent.

They stood out less for their youth than for their yearning. Sometimes they walked alongside parents every bit as rapt as they were. Sometimes they wandered alone, in a trance. Sometimes they showed up at my office door, not because they were looking for me but because they were looking around, and they liked to peek in on the professors in their path.

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