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(The Atlantic)   Your annual reminder to ignore the U.S. News & World Report college rankings   (theatlantic.com) divider line 61
    More: Obvious, U.S. News, college rankings, Reed College, rankings, Oberlin, Joe Nocera, Joneses, intangible assets  
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4243 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Sep 2013 at 1:43 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-10 12:40:56 PM  
Just keep a level head and don't panic. Remember, your value as a human and the definitive measure of the quality of your parenting skills is ultimately determined solely on the basis of which schools accept your kid. No pressure though.
 
2013-09-10 01:50:09 PM  
U.S. News is always tinkering with the metrics they use, so meaningful comparisons from one year to the next are hard to make. Critics also allege that this is as much a marketing move as an attempt to improve the quality of the rankings: changes in the metrics yield slight changes in the rank orders, which induces people to buy the latest rankings to see what's changed.

See also Money magazine's annual "Best Places" lists.  Strangely, the best place one year doesn't make the list the next year and the winners are always exurban cities with a significant amount of housing under development.
 
2013-09-10 01:54:54 PM  
Wow.  My alma mater really slipped.  Therefore, this list is invalid.
 
2013-09-10 01:54:58 PM  

Rapmaster2000: U.S. News is always tinkering with the metrics they use, so meaningful comparisons from one year to the next are hard to make. Critics also allege that this is as much a marketing move as an attempt to improve the quality of the rankings: changes in the metrics yield slight changes in the rank orders, which induces people to buy the latest rankings to see what's changed.

See also Money magazine's annual "Best Places" lists.  Strangely, the best place one year doesn't make the list the next year and the winners are always exurban cities with a significant amount of housing under development.


Best countries remains pretty stable though.

If I control-f the article and don't find "banana slugs", I don't read it.
 
2013-09-10 01:55:06 PM  
Malcolm Gladwell's writeup on this two years ago was pretty good.

My personal advice to anyone going to college is long and complex. I don't understand why anyone who isn't already very rich would pay 60,000 a year for college. Private schools in general seem like an awful waste of money when compared to your standard in-state land grant colleges, considering how good some of those top schools are.

But the basics:
1) Don't knock anyone up or get knocked up.
2) Drink and have fun, but drink and have fun moderately.
3) Be prepared to switch majors. Aim high to start, because hardly anyone switches from an art major to engineering.
4) Do what you love OR  Do what you don't necessarily love that give you the freedom to do what you love.
5) Don't plan law school or 5 more years of college (Masters/PhD) as your fallback option because there goes 2-5 more years of your earnings and a lot of your life. Opportunity cost is huge.
6) Don't feel you have to go to college.
 
2013-09-10 01:55:30 PM  
We're #4!

And what happened to MIT? They've hit the skids
 
2013-09-10 01:59:28 PM  
 
2013-09-10 02:02:33 PM  
#41, close enough.
 
2013-09-10 02:02:51 PM  

Carn: Go U!

Northwestern Football: 19th-Ranked On Field, Top-Ranked In Classroom. How Do Those Cats Do It?


Considering the Big Ten mostly sucks now, I'd say it's by facing inferior competition.

/purdue grad
 
2013-09-10 02:08:06 PM  
Bu..bu..but MY favorite college outranks YOUR favorite college, so this list MUST be valid!
 
2013-09-10 02:11:26 PM  

Rapmaster2000: Carn: Go U!

Northwestern Football: 19th-Ranked On Field, Top-Ranked In Classroom. How Do Those Cats Do It?

Considering the Big Ten mostly sucks now, I'd say it's by facing inferior competition.

/purdue grad


Pffff, don't hate.  Just because Purdue has sucked since Drew Brees graduated doesn't mean the rest of the conference is worthless.  We were supposed to get blown out in the Gator bowl by Miss St last year of the mighty SEC, and we won by two TDs.  Ohio St, Wisconsin, Michigan and just maybe NU could be contending for the conference and a BCS bid.
 
2013-09-10 02:14:32 PM  
First year for my alma mater breaking the top 25 for undergrads...

so I'm gonna go ahead and agree that this a scientifically conducted and completely valid method of ranking.
 
2013-09-10 02:18:42 PM  

mediablitz: Rapmaster2000: U.S. News is always tinkering with the metrics they use, so meaningful comparisons from one year to the next are hard to make. Critics also allege that this is as much a marketing move as an attempt to improve the quality of the rankings: changes in the metrics yield slight changes in the rank orders, which induces people to buy the latest rankings to see what's changed.

See also Money magazine's annual "Best Places" lists.  Strangely, the best place one year doesn't make the list the next year and the winners are always exurban cities with a significant amount of housing under development.

Best countries remains pretty stable though.

If I control-f the article and don't find "banana slugs", I don't read it.


Fiat Slug!
 
2013-09-10 02:18:52 PM  

xxmedium: First year for my alma mater breaking the top 25 for undergrads...

so I'm gonna go ahead and agree that this a scientifically conducted and completely valid method of ranking.


I have to disagree. It seems like my alma mater isn't #1 in all categories. Obviously a flawed methodology.

/on the anniversary of Knight being fired too!
 
2013-09-10 02:24:54 PM  
I graduated from the top ranked liberal arts college in America and all I got was this lousy bartending job.

Go Purple Cows.
 
2013-09-10 02:25:24 PM  

HaywoodJablonski: We're #4!

And what happened to MIT? They've hit the skids


Are you a Columbia grad as well? Awesome!

/high five
 
2013-09-10 02:26:07 PM  
Let's see... 14 universities. 6 in the top 100, 11 in the top 200.

Annual tuition? Roughly €1700, most of which is subsidised by the government.

Annual cost of the books? Roughly €450.

Hearing about people from the US with $50,000+ student debt? Priceless.
 
2013-09-10 02:32:15 PM  

Carn: Rapmaster2000: Carn: Go U!

Northwestern Football: 19th-Ranked On Field, Top-Ranked In Classroom. How Do Those Cats Do It?

Considering the Big Ten mostly sucks now, I'd say it's by facing inferior competition.

/purdue grad

Pffff, don't hate.  Just because Purdue has sucked since Drew Brees graduated doesn't mean the rest of the conference is worthless.  We were supposed to get blown out in the Gator bowl by Miss St last year of the mighty SEC, and we won by two TDs.  Ohio St, Wisconsin, Michigan and just maybe NU could be contending for the conference and a BCS bid.


Miss St. was the 7th best team in the SEC by overall record.  Northwestern was 2nd among bowl eligible teams in the Big 10.  The fact that Miss St. was even in that game says all that needs to be said about the Big 10.
 
2013-09-10 02:33:38 PM  
Please don't do anything to upset the snowflakes....  "Status Anxiety?" LOL.  Sorry son, someone has to flip the burgers..

1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-09-10 02:35:39 PM  
My alma mater is never really on the big lists, so I don't really care.

bdub77: Malcolm Gladwell's writeup on this two years ago was pretty good.

My personal advice to anyone going to college is long and complex. I don't understand why anyone who isn't already very rich would pay 60,000 a year for college. Private schools in general seem like an awful waste of money when compared to your standard in-state land grant colleges, considering how good some of those top schools are.

But the basics:
1) Don't knock anyone up or get knocked up.
2) Drink and have fun, but drink and have fun moderately.
3) Be prepared to switch majors. Aim high to start, because hardly anyone switches from an art major to engineering.
4) Do what you love OR  Do what you don't necessarily love that give you the freedom to do what you love.
5) Don't plan law school or 5 more years of college (Masters/PhD) as your fallback option because there goes 2-5 more years of your earnings and a lot of your life. Opportunity cost is huge.
6) Don't feel you have to go to college.


7) Leaving college, be prepared to be depressed when you're job hunting, it's only natural, but don't stop looking. However, when you do land a job, be prepared to see the barrage of job offers and wonder 'why the fark were they waiting this long!?'.
8) If you decided to go freelance, start with a strong work discipline.
 
2013-09-10 02:35:57 PM  
I work at a ranked university, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies!

/ didn't specify *how highly* ranked
// stoppin' before I get in trouble
 
2013-09-10 02:37:24 PM  
Well I certainly won't be transferring my community college credits to Harvard, that's for damned sure. No. 2 school is for losers.

Princeton here I come!!

Is there a form to fill out or something? Or just register online?
 
2013-09-10 02:41:57 PM  

DerAppie: Let's see... 14 universities. 6 in the top 100, 11 in the top 200.

Annual tuition? Roughly €1700, most of which is subsidised by the government.

Annual cost of the books? Roughly €450.

Hearing about people from the US with $50,000+ student debt? Priceless.


In the US, our universities are subsidized by the government.  We have plenty of mediocre schools like those in the Netherlands where the government provides the bulk of the cost.  We also have, in addition, spectacularly good universities.
 
2013-09-10 02:42:53 PM  
I'm just out of grad school at Boston U and it's moved up 10 spots....
You're welcome.

/now forgive my 90k debt pleeze
/GO TERRIERS
 
2013-09-10 02:44:42 PM  

flak attack: Carn: Rapmaster2000: Carn: Go U!

Northwestern Football: 19th-Ranked On Field, Top-Ranked In Classroom. How Do Those Cats Do It?

Considering the Big Ten mostly sucks now, I'd say it's by facing inferior competition.

/purdue grad

Pffff, don't hate.  Just because Purdue has sucked since Drew Brees graduated doesn't mean the rest of the conference is worthless.  We were supposed to get blown out in the Gator bowl by Miss St last year of the mighty SEC, and we won by two TDs.  Ohio St, Wisconsin, Michigan and just maybe NU could be contending for the conference and a BCS bid.

Miss St. was the 7th best team in the SEC by overall record.  Northwestern was 2nd among bowl eligible teams in the Big 10.  The fact that Miss St. was even in that game says all that needs to be said about the Big 10.


Vanderbilt was next highest and NU beat them too.  Whatever.  I'm not really trying to say that the Big Ten is the best conference, although I don't think they are as bad as people have been saying the last several years, I'm just saying NU is awesome.
 
2013-09-10 02:45:23 PM  

jpo2269: Please don't do anything to upset the snowflakes....  "Status Anxiety?" LOL.  Sorry son, someone has to flip the burgers..


I've always thought about that 'the world needs ditch diggers too!' argument, and the fact that we're starting to automatize certain tasks... Like digging ditches, flipping burgers. I think there will come a time that machines will do all the work, and we'll only study art and philosophy... And then the Matrix will be created.
 
2013-09-10 02:47:36 PM  
It's really not about the kids. It's about the terror keeping you up at night as you imagine having other parents brag their kid got into a great school while you have to digest your own liver in the shame and humiliation of little Timmy only getting into some school ranked in the 60s. TIME TO DRIVE TIMMY HARDER GODDAMNIT
 
2013-09-10 02:52:09 PM  
I'm pretty sure my current college didn't even make the list. Sigh. But at least it's still SUNY standards!
 
2013-09-10 02:53:56 PM  

flucto: It's really not about the kids. It's about the terror keeping you up at night as you imagine having other parents brag their kid got into a great school while you have to digest your own liver in the shame and humiliation of little Timmy only getting into some school ranked in the 60s. TIME TO DRIVE TIMMY HARDER GODDAMNIT


I've never really understood that thing of Americans. College should matter on the quality of the studies, not on street cred.
 
2013-09-10 03:03:55 PM  
But apparently, Duke doesn't suck.  <does not compute>
 
2013-09-10 03:04:02 PM  
In a global economy maybe we should crack the ratings open to include the rest of the world:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012 -1 3/world-ranking
 
2013-09-10 03:05:41 PM  

Diogenes: Wow.  My alma mater really slipped.  Therefore, this list is invalid.


Mine is in the top 30 according to US News, but top 20 internationally according to....

US News.

Yeah, that's legit.

/also top 20 internationally according to the Times [Britain]
//and I'm working at a non-profit so totally raking in the dough
///state school, in-state tuition, scholarships... I got off pretty light
 
2013-09-10 03:05:45 PM  
 
2013-09-10 03:05:45 PM  
We're #RNP! We're #RNP! We're #RNP!
 
2013-09-10 03:07:06 PM  

Target Builder: In a global economy maybe we should crack the ratings open to include the rest of the world:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012 -1 3/world-ranking


Yep, that's the one I just pulled up.

Is this seriously the only thing keeping US News & World Report afloat?
 
2013-09-10 03:07:17 PM  

CygnusDarius: I've never really understood that thing of Americans. College should matter on the quality of the studies, not on street cred.


It's harder to have a standard measure of quality of studies than it is to determine how hard it is to get accepted.
 
2013-09-10 03:08:43 PM  

CygnusDarius: I've never really understood that thing of Americans. College should matter on the quality of the studies, not on street cred.


Yeah but doing all of that research to pick a college that fits your values, academic ability and intangibles like its cultural fit sounds like a lot of work.
 
2013-09-10 03:09:37 PM  
#141 and a $48,000 tuition bill...

Holy crap!  It was $5K when I went.
 
2013-09-10 03:09:37 PM  

CygnusDarius: flucto: It's really not about the kids. It's about the terror keeping you up at night as you imagine having other parents brag their kid got into a great school while you have to digest your own liver in the shame and humiliation of little Timmy only getting into some school ranked in the 60s. TIME TO DRIVE TIMMY HARDER GODDAMNIT

I've never really understood that thing of Americans. College should matter on the quality of the studies, not on street cred.


Ostensibly these are supposed to be objective ways of measuring just that.  In reality, it's politics.

In any case it makes more sense to look at rankings for your intended major.  Mine was #1 in the country freshman year.  Then post 9/11 freakouts caused the pièce de résistance, research wise, of our department to be shut down.  I think when I left we were 7th or something.
 
2013-09-10 03:09:39 PM  

Carn: flak attack: Carn: Rapmaster2000: Carn: Go U!

Northwestern Football: 19th-Ranked On Field, Top-Ranked In Classroom. How Do Those Cats Do It?

Considering the Big Ten mostly sucks now, I'd say it's by facing inferior competition.

/purdue grad

Pffff, don't hate.  Just because Purdue has sucked since Drew Brees graduated doesn't mean the rest of the conference is worthless.  We were supposed to get blown out in the Gator bowl by Miss St last year of the mighty SEC, and we won by two TDs.  Ohio St, Wisconsin, Michigan and just maybe NU could be contending for the conference and a BCS bid.

Miss St. was the 7th best team in the SEC by overall record.  Northwestern was 2nd among bowl eligible teams in the Big 10.  The fact that Miss St. was even in that game says all that needs to be said about the Big 10.

Vanderbilt was next highest and NU beat them too.  Whatever.  I'm not really trying to say that the Big Ten is the best conference, although I don't think they are as bad as people have been saying the last several years, I'm just saying NU is awesome.


I mean if you look at the the top 25 polls and bowl games, for the past few years especially, it's been the SEC dominating. The Big Ten usually has a ton of teams in the top 25, even if the bowl records aren't that spectacular. The Pac-10/12 probably comes in after that, fewer schools but better bowl record. Big 12 would be in there but it's more or less fallen apart in the last few years (Mizzo/TT -> SEC, Nebraska to Big 10, UT starting to suck more). The rest is a smattering of teams.

I don't think the Big 10 is that good, mostly that it is not good in comparison to the SEC and the other conferences don't get as much representation because there are fewer qualities teams in them.

/my non-scientific assessment
 
2013-09-10 03:11:41 PM  

Target Builder: In a global economy maybe we should crack the ratings open to include the rest of the world:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012 -1 3/world-ranking


For anyone too lazy to read, the US still dominates the list.
 
2013-09-10 03:15:23 PM  

Diogenes: Wow.  My alma mater really slipped.  Therefore, this list is invalid.


It really is worth a read; also well written.   http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/11/is-there-life-aft e r-rankings/304308/?single_page=true

Imagine if Fark tried to rank all U.S. beers.  The majority of the regional beers would be ranked by Farkers who never tasted them, and the most widely distributed beers would receive an unearned bump simply due to their visibility.  It's a rough analogy, but the US News scholastic rankings suffer similarly.  What does a professor at Florida State know about the scholastic programs at Stanford other than the school's reputation?  What does the Stanford professor know of a small private school in Georgia?
 
2013-09-10 03:17:34 PM  

Unhip1: I'm just out of grad school at Boston U and it's moved up 10 spots....
You're welcome.

/now forgive my 90k debt pleeze
/GO TERRIERS


That doesn't count. Everyone will look up the ranking for the year you graduated. Then you will have to explain why the rankings increased after you left. Ha ha.
 
2013-09-10 03:19:04 PM  

Turbo Cojones: #141 and a $48,000 tuition bill...

Holy crap!  It was $5K when I went.


Yeah.  True across the board, it sucks now.

upload.wikimedia.org

My Dad went to my alma mater and paid his way through.  Worked like crazy but it was manageable.  I did the same, part time through all four years and worked every summer...

.... and thanks to a ridiculous rental market (the university didn't like to build dorms, so for awhile they just kicked graduate students out of their on campus housing to compete with everyone else) all I covered was rent, utilities, and food.  Although even if I slept in the library and fed myself snacks from symposiums and lectures, I'd need a incredibly high paying part time job to still, you know, pass classes.

/but the lazy kids these days
 
2013-09-10 03:21:30 PM  
My buddy has a 148 IQ. Three Associates Degrees, fluent in multiple languages and has some pretty impressive technology certifications. He then got a bachellors degree from a good but low ranked midwestern Catholic University. He then got a law degree from the same school.The law school, tier 3. No one wanted to hire him.Went back to law school at yet another tier 3 law school that had a good 1 year program he liked. He did this while taking cases on his own, and passing three state bar exams and one foreign one. $180,000 in debt trying to be marketable and get a job, yet no one wanted to interview him. He said screw it and went back for an MBA degree at a school in the Top-50. He's already getting job offers.

But yeah, rankings don't matter a bit and no one ever pays any attention to them.
 
2013-09-10 03:33:26 PM  

mainstreet62: HaywoodJablonski: We're #4!

And what happened to MIT? They've hit the skids

Are you a Columbia grad as well? Awesome!

/high five


Obama??


/sorry. Had to.

As for the article, if you don't already know this; Don't go by overall Uni ranking. There are lists that rank by major, those are much helpful as certain schools have majors that might rank higher (or lower) than the overall university ranking.

//used to have good examples of that. Seems those brain cells died off.


Also, make sure you visit the campus and decide it is a place you can live in for a few years. I visited one well ranked school that was highly ranked. Problem: it was barely a village with nothing major around for at least 50 miles.

///disjointed slashies FTW!
 
2013-09-10 03:36:31 PM  

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Turbo Cojones: #141 and a $48,000 tuition bill...

Holy crap!  It was $5K when I went.

Yeah.  True across the board, it sucks now.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 600x504]

My Dad went to my alma mater and paid his way through.  Worked like crazy but it was manageable.  I did the same, part time through all four years and worked every summer...

.... and thanks to a ridiculous rental market (the university didn't like to build dorms, so for awhile they just kicked graduate students out of their on campus housing to compete with everyone else) all I covered was rent, utilities, and food.  Although even if I slept in the library and fed myself snacks from symposiums and lectures, I'd need a incredibly high paying part time job to still, you know, pass classes.

/but the lazy kids these days


I graduated from #41 in 1990.  I was able to pay my in-state tuition by working in an office 20 hours per week making $7 per hour.  I paid for a year's living expenses working on road crews in the summer (60 hours per week at $12 & $18 for the final 20 hours).  It's simply not possible anymore; the tuition is now 8 times what it was when I went to school, and most campus jobs aren't going to pay more than $10 per hour.

Whether we're talking education, housing, retirement, etc. the banks always win.  Borrowing money, often huge amounts, has become a standard component of building a life in America.
 
2013-09-10 03:38:56 PM  
How to not have a massive amount of college debt:

- Go to a respected public school in your state and get all the scholarships and grants available to you
- Work a part-time job during the year, full-time during the summer
- Get a credit card to establish credit and pay it off every month
- Don't go to graduate school unless you get a guaranteed offer of a tuition waiver and stipend from teaching, research or both
- Be smart
- Don't be stupid

/My department slipped from #1 to #2 since I left, hmm
//Go Blue
 
2013-09-10 03:49:03 PM  

mainstreet62: HaywoodJablonski: We're #4!

And what happened to MIT? They've hit the skids

Are you a Columbia grad as well? Awesome!

/high five


Fist-bump. Of course while I was there, we hovered between 9 and 15.

/We got better
 
2013-09-10 03:51:08 PM  

Thrash90210: My buddy has a 148 IQ. Three Associates Degrees, fluent in multiple languages and has some pretty impressive technology certifications. He then got a bachellors degree from a good but low ranked midwestern Catholic University. He then got a law degree from the same school.The law school, tier 3. No one wanted to hire him.Went back to law school at yet another tier 3 law school that had a good 1 year program he liked. He did this while taking cases on his own, and passing three state bar exams and one foreign one. $180,000 in debt trying to be marketable and get a job, yet no one wanted to interview him. He said screw it and went back for an MBA degree at a school in the Top-50. He's already getting job offers.

But yeah, rankings don't matter a bit and no one ever pays any attention to them.


Law is a field that is very, very much driven by rankings, at least at the firm level. IDK if law schools themselves are that picky when it comes to the undergrad degree.
 
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