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Ranking College by Rhodes Scholarship

Y7ongjunY7ongjun Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
edited September 2012 in College Search & Selection
The Rhodes Scholarships were established after the death of Cecil Rhodes, who dreamed of improving the world through the diffusion of leaders motivated to serve their contemporaries, trained in the contemplative life of the mind, and broadened by their acquaintance with one another and by their exposure to cultures different from their own. Mr. Rhodes hoped that his plan of bringing able students from throughout the English-speaking world and beyond to study at Oxford University would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace.

Each year, 32 U. S. citizens are among more than 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford University. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

Rhodes Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship awarded to graduating college students. It is based on academics, leadership, moral and courage. Here are the top colleges over the history.

Ranking College Number of Rhodes Scholars
1 Harvard 323
2 Yale 217
3 Princeton 192
4 West Point 85
5 Stanford 82
6 Dartmouth 60
7 UChicago 45
8 Brown 45
9 Virginia 45
10 Naval Academy 43


11 Duke 39
11 UNC 39
13 MIT 36
14 Air Force Adademy 35
15 U of Washington 35
16 Williams 34
17 Wisconsin 29
18 Cornell 27
18 Swarthmore 27
18 Texas-Austin 27
18 Montana 27

22 Columbia 26
22 Vanderbilt 26
22 Oklahoma 26
25 Washington STL 25
25 Michigan 25
25 U of the South 25
25 Kansas 25
25 Mississippi 25
30 West Virginia 24
30 Minnesota 24

32 Davidson 23
32 Arizona 23
32 Georgetown 23
35 Berkeley 22
35 Amherst 22
35 Utah 22
38 U of Alabama 23
39 Georgia 21
40 Idaho 20
41 Harveford 19
41 Penn 19
43 U of Nevada 18
43 U of Wyoming 18
45 U of New Mexico 16




Commentary:

As expected, the top performers are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, West Point, Stanford.

The next tier is Dartmouth, UChicago, Duke, MIT

Among top 40 or so feeder colleges to Oxford (Rhodes), Penn does not perform well given its size and US News reputation. Penn is slightly better than U of Wyoming and U. of New Mexico in Rhodes Scholar production.

Some of the public colleges are doing well because of their size and their ability to produce leaders.
Post edited by Y7ongjun on
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Replies to: Ranking College by Rhodes Scholarship

  • alam1alam1 Posts: 1,065Registered User Senior Member
    I think if you included world universities Mcgill would be like 4th on that list.. it has 123 or so rhodes scholars.
  • Venkat89Venkat89 Posts: 7,327Registered User Senior Member
    Interesting list. Great to see our military academies are well respected across the pond at Oxford.

    May I ask why you're singling Penn out though (here and in other threads)? Sure it doesn't produce as many Rhodes scholars as the other Ivies and top 10 schools, but that doesn't really mean anything. Penn is still producing some, which is better than nothing.

    If you look since 2000, the Ivy League Rhodes Scholar break down is like this:
    Brown 7
    Columbia 6
    Cornell 3
    Dartmouth 4
    Harvard 30
    Penn 4
    Princeton 12
    Yale 22

    Harvard blows everyone away and Yale is a solid second. Princeton nearly doubled 3rd place Brown. Only a few students separate last place Cornell from 4th place Brown. Nothing too significant in my book. Sure, there are more students at Penn and Cornell, but they also have very preprofessional schools (Wharton, nursing, Ag, Hotel, etc.) where students will not be looking at a Rhodes scholarship.

    Numbers from 50 years ago don't reflect how strong Penn is now as an undergrad school. It's called improvement, and Penn has worked hard the past two decades at improving its undergrad program, the undergrad experience, and attracting top students.
  • AP930AP930 Posts: 273Registered User Junior Member
    HYP have more than twice West Point's.

    Dartmouth does really well despite its size.

    Doesn't Canada have a separate pool from the US' 32?
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Posts: 4,651Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, AP930, Canada has a separate pool, so it's not really fair to compare them.

    Another thing that would be interesting is to break down Rhode Scholars by regions and contained schools. For instance, I believe that Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Brown students are all competing for the same 2 spots (not 100% sure how this works) each year.

    A great quote from the Rhodes Trust webpage to explain why these stats are misleading and generally, not a useful basis of comparison:
    The Scholarships are technically allocated to "states," and not to the "United States," and for some years early in the last century each state was entitled to the same number of winners (be it either, e.g., New York or Wyoming). And for most of the subsequent years, under various regional schemes where the states have been grouped in districts -- indeed until just a few years ago -- the odds of being elected a Rhodes Scholar varied state to state, making state-by-state comparisons over time of little meaning or significance. This is also true of institution-by-institution comparisons as well, as those colleges and universities in states with relatively fewer other universities and colleges (that is, for example, Nevada or Delaware or New Hampshire and others) inherently offered its graduates far better chances for selection than those with many (for example, the neighboring states of California or Pennsylvania or Massachusetts and others). The numbers are thus especially prone to misinterpretation when they include many Scholars elected in the early decades of the Scholarship when certain state advantages were very pronounced.

    The other factor that renders Rhodes state or institutional statistics subject to easy misinterpretation, or misapplication, is that applicants have always been eligible to apply either in their state of residence or the state in which they attend college. This has the effect, in the context of institutional comparisons, of "advantaging" those institutions that recruit outstanding students nationally over those whose strongest students are likely to be eligible primarily in one (or a few) states (for example, Stanford over UC Berkeley; or an Ivy League university over the University of Michigan). And all this said, the award is a personal one; selectors choose the strongest applicants in their geographic pool, and regardless of institution attended and any presumed advantages, or disadvantages, that some might possibly ascribe to attendance at a particular college.

    Of course, in the end, this may just be a measure of input variables (where do top students go), and therefore, are not any more useful than say, SAT range + GPA.
  • toast eatertoast eater Posts: 249Registered User Junior Member
    Just remember that the Rhodes, to put it gently, has an unflattering history of its treatment of Catholic college graduates who were for the most part almost totally excluded from receiving it before the 1970s. So when you look at Georgetown, Notre Dame etc., they really did not have the opportunity to compete on a fair basis until about 1980.

    It would be interesting to see a list from 1980 forward.
  • Venkat89Venkat89 Posts: 7,327Registered User Senior Member
    From the Rhodes website when they give the school statistics
    We hesitate to publish this due to the ease in which these statistics are misused and misinterpreted, but we do so as lists like this are now widely available but frequently inaccurate.


    Please keep in mind though that the Rhodes Scholarship competition has never been a national one, so state and institutional comparisons are not particularly relevant or meaningful.

    The Scholarships are technically allocated to "states," and not to the "United States," and for some years early in the last century each state was entitled to the same number of winners (be it either, e.g., New York or Wyoming). And for most of the subsequent years, under various regional schemes where the states have been grouped in districts -- indeed until just a few years ago -- the odds of being elected a Rhodes Scholar varied state to state, making state-by-state comparisons over time of little meaning or significance. This is also true of institution-by-institution comparisons as well, as those colleges and universities in states with relatively fewer other universities and colleges (that is, for example, Nevada or Delaware or New Hampshire and others) inherently offered its graduates far better chances for selection than those with many (for example, the neighboring states of California or Pennsylvania or Massachusetts and others). The numbers are thus especially prone to misinterpretation when they include many Scholars elected in the early decades of the Scholarship when certain state advantages were very pronounced.

    The other factor that renders Rhodes state or institutional statistics subject to easy misinterpretation, or misapplication, is that applicants have always been eligible to apply either in their state of residence or the state in which they attend college. This has the effect, in the context of institutional comparisons, of "advantaging" those institutions that recruit outstanding students nationally over those whose strongest students are likely to be eligible primarily in one (or a few) states (for example, Stanford over UC Berkeley; or an Ivy League university over the University of Michigan). And all this said, the award is a personal one; selectors choose the strongest applicants in their geographic pool, and regardless of institution attended and any presumed advantages, or disadvantages, that some might possibly ascribe to attendance at a particular college.
  • Venkat89Venkat89 Posts: 7,327Registered User Senior Member
    Another thing that would be interesting is to break down Rhode Scholars by regions and contained schools. For instance, I believe that Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Brown students are all competing for the same 2 spots (not 100% sure how this works) each year.
    Rhodes is done by home state, not school state. That's the only way Harvard and MIT both had two Rhodes Scholars in 2009.
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    Y7ongjun wrote:
    UNC 39
    This immediately causes me to doubt your entire list.

    UNC has produced 43 Rhodes scholars. Update your numbers.
    Y7ongjun wrote:
    Some of the public colleges are doing well because of their size and their ability to produce leaders.
    Not Berkeley, notably. It's produced a grand total of 5 in the last 50 years, less than Harvard in a single year. Michigan has similarly low numbers.



    Venkat- Rhodes can be either by home state OR school state.
  • Venkat89Venkat89 Posts: 7,327Registered User Senior Member
    My bad. No wonder Ivies love state diversity. More Rhodes scholars if everyone isn't from the north east.
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Posts: 4,651Registered User Senior Member
    ^^
    Has nothing to do with it.
  • Y7ongjunY7ongjun Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
    IBClass2006:


    Here is the complete official Rhodes Scholars. I did not make it up.

    http://www.rhodesscholar.org/assets/PDF/2009/Institutions_for_Website_7_30_09.pdf


    According to phychology studies, most people are biased in decision making. Most of us form our perceptions according to limited data. Once our perception is formed, it is very hard to change even though large evidence to show that the perception is biased.
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Posts: 8,950Registered User Senior Member
    Michigan, and I'd imagine Berkeley as well, has never had a special office to sell it's students to the committee like so many other institutions have/had. From my understanding, promoting Rhodes Scholarships is a full time occupation for some of these campus'.
  • Y7ongjunY7ongjun Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
    Ventak89:

    Your argument does not explain why Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or UChicago produced much more Rhodes Scholars than Penn.
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    Y7ongjun wrote:
    Here is the complete official Rhodes Scholars.
    That list does not include foreign Rhodes. If you're going to attempt to rank universities with such minute differences in numbers (e.g. Brown & Duke or Williams & Cornell), foreign Rhodes production can change the rankings quite a bit.

    While one can claim that this favors colleges with high numbers of international students, your list already favors colleges with high numbers of students from less competitive geographic areas.
    rjkofnovi wrote:
    Michigan, and I'd imagine Berkeley as well, has never had a special office to sell it's students to the committee like so many other institutions have/had. From my understanding, promoting Rhodes Scholarships is a full time occupation for some of these campus'.
    Yep. I don't think anyone is suggesting that those publics have less intelligent students; obviously Berkeley and Michigan have Rhodes-worthy students.

    What it does suggest, however, is that those publics do not extend sufficient institutional support to such students and leave them to figure things out on their own. The drawbacks to this approach are obvious.
  • modestmelodymodestmelody Posts: 4,651Registered User Senior Member
    Most of us form our perceptions according to limited data.

    Right now, I'm forming my perceptions based on the limited data available, your 25 posts. It has seemed to me that you registered after the new USNews rankings came out and have written everything possible to put down Penn since registering. Now I'm hardly a Penn cheerleader, as Venkat will certainly attest to, but my perception appears to be that you're an ass **** about Penn because of your own personal bias/distaste/experience.
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