Friday, August 22, 2008

US News & World Report College Rankings

US News & World Report has done it again--the new college rankings are out. It always begs the question: can someone really quantify quality? No, not really. But the magazine tries to every year. Frank Donoghue, in his book, The Last Professors, has criticized the process (and even idea) of the whole ranking process. See my post on this book here. For full article (or at least links) for rankings, go here or, better yet, here. Nonetheless, I'll give some highlights:

Harvard ranks number 1 by itself for the first time since 1996. It usually shares this distinction with Princeton. My own Columbia ranks 8, tied with Duke and U Chicago. So, here's the top ten (and some other schools for comparison):

1. Harvard
2. Princeton
3. Yale
4. MIT
5. Stanford
6. California Institute of Technology / U Penn
8. Columbia / Duke / University of Chicago

Some interesting comparisons of note: Wash U in St. Louis (my old stomping grounds) comes in 12, being tied with Northwestern. April DeConick's Rice comes in 17. For you fighting Irish out there, Notre Dame comes in 18, tied with Vanderbilt. University of Michigan caught my eye at 26. NYU, down the street from me, is 33. University of Illinois, the flagship of my home state is 40. Penn State University at University Park is 47. Fordham, also down the street, is 61--tied with Clemson and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Baylor, which has had some press lately since they fired their president, who was trying to increase their rankings, comes in at 76, followed by my friend Andrei Orlov's Marquette at 77--tied with SUNY, Binghamton, and University of Colorado, Boulder. St. Louis University, same town as Wash U, is 80.

Liberal Arts colleges receive a separate ranking. You can see that here. Their top ten are:

1. Amherst
2. Williams
3. Swarthmore
4. Wellesley
5. Middlebury
6. Bowdoin / Pomona
8. Carleton
9. Davidson
10. Haverford

Some others that caught my eye. I had a friend who went to Macalaster, which is 25. Barnard is 27 and is tied with Mount Holyoke, where another friend attended. Bard College, the institution of the well-known Jewish studies scholar, Jacob Neusner, is 37. And my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, came in at 60.

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