I am a newcomer to this forum, but I have been reading posts over the past couple of days. I noticed an interesting trend that prompted me to make my first post: virtually any mention of the medical school rankings issued by US News is extremely negative. People have claimed that these rankings "confirm the sentiments of laypeople," "place too much weight on NIH grants," and are even "specifically designed to place medical schools that have built a reputation consistently on top of the list." I think this is a rather unfair assessment of the rankings, although it seems to be the pervading view on this message board. I could begin to speculate as to the reasons why people would have such a strong aversion to the rankings, but to avoid speculation that could be perceived as "offensive," i'll simply try and provide the other side of the argument. The aim of these rankings is to provide an objective rating of the strength of over 100 medical schools from year to year. It should be noted that these rankings are by no means permanent, and schools are still upheld to a standard every year in order to maintain their position on the list. To maintain that "laypeople" are somehow the primary determinants of this list is very shortsighted. Many institutions that most laypeople probably weren't even aware of in terms of their strength in medicine (UCSF, Baylor, UCLA, etc.) consistently make the top 10-20 medical schools on the list every year, and rightfully so. A more accurate statement would be to claim that reputation within the medical field absolutely matters in the rankings. This is due to the peer institution factor in the ranking formula. I don't think I really have to make formidable arguments about why this absolutely should matter anyway. With regard to NIH funding, I will concede that the absolute amount of funding places institutions with more affiliate hospitals (more faculty) at a significant advantage. However, let's not forget that NIH funding per faculty is also considered in order to counterbalance this effect. Also, limiting funding analyses to NIH is both practical and fair, as every institution in the country has equal opportunity and access to these grants, making this a mark of standardization that is acceptable. The strength of accepted applicants in objective terms (GPA and MCAT) also can and should be considered, as it is a function of the school's ability to graduate physicians with potential. Institutions which attract the most capable students are equipped with the facilities to satisfy this potential, so this factor absolutely makes sense. Finally, schools' strength in residency placement corresponds very closely to the research ranking, due to the residency director's rating factor. The primary care rating is also provided for a fair assessment of individuals who want to go into family practice or GP. All in all, it seems that no matter which way you look at it these rankings are a very fair assessment of the strength of institutions. Rebuttals?