You guys need to relax. A school ranking is just that: a ranking based on loads of statistics and gathered data.
MIT is the best school, but not statistically speaking. Not by their statistics at least. You have to look at the education and the experience and the value (NOT dollar value) of those two combined to truly get the worth of a school, and I don't think any school can beat MIT for that.
Probably tuition. I know a lot of my friends won't even consider MIT because of the tuition fee's. I know that MIT is the kind of education I want, and it doesn't matter if I have to go in debt to get it. For me, education comes first.
Mainly in the "Faculty Resources" Rank and also a little in areas like Alumni giving, etc. In comparison, MIT usually ranks low in "Faculty Resource." Furthermore, you're underestimating Penn's selectivity. It was ranked 7th by USnews 2005.
The bulk of the facutly resources criteria is in class sizes under 20 and faculty salary. Penn does have the 3rd highest average faculty salary in the nation, and adjusted to regional differences, it may be the highest.
However, even though I'm going to penn this fall, I do admit that the faculty resource rank is a bit sketchy, and that MIT should not be ranked lower than....Duke, let's say. lol
Furthermore, you're underestimating Penn's selectivity. It was ranked 7th by USnews 2005.
Underestimating Penn's selectivity? According to you, it's ranked 7th for selectivity (certainly behind MIT) and yet it's ranked 4th overall. Penn has like a 20% acceptance rate and relatively lower SAT average. It's by far one of the least selective of the top schools.
7th may not seem high to you, but Stanford was only 6th (USNews 2005). So if you consider stanford to be selective, then how does only 1 rank off qualify as significant. MIT was ranked 15th (2005) in Faculty resources; Penn was ranked 1st for that.
Again, I'm not trying to offer a critique on MIT vs Penn, just an explantion for the ranking forumla.
I didn't criticize your explanation of the ranking formula. I was merely responding to your opinion on Penn's selectivity. I just felt that Penn's overall rank wasn't reflective of its selectivity. That's all. And btw, a one-place difference in the rankings is very important to some people. A number of people are going berserk because Penn and Duke are ranked higher than MIT.
ForeverZero: Those are the people that value the prestige more than the education. Likely the ones that got into MIT as valedictorians (as 42% of ranked students did). I think that's one of the top reasons MIT students have more psychological problems as compared to students on other similar league campuses (if I'm mistaken, correct me). You have all these people used to being #1 and all of a sudden they're in the bottom half of their class. What they fail to realize is being at the bottom of MIT still puts you ahead of most others. You still get the opportunity for a great education which others would kill for.
I think it's the same people that worry that the rank went up or down. It's not like MIT's education changed. It's not like the other schools' education changed. It's stupid stuff like acceptance rates and tuition and funding and donation, etc.
Look at the quality of the education. That didn't change. The ones who know that are the ones who don't care whether USNWR puts MIT as #1 or #10. Let it rank how it wants to, some people don't understand that the education is the only thing that matters (next to perhaps your ability to afford that education, but honestly, what school gives you a better opportunity to pay off student loans than MIT?).
It is important to remember how things get skewed. Remember while some schools have higher acceptance rates (i.e. Penn) they also have a signifigantly higher student body.
In the same way the resources rankings are skewed by the criteria that the computations are based upon.
I agree with the previous post, It important to look at the rankings in general. Look at the top 5-8 Schools as a group and the next 5-8 as a group or some variation on that, then you get the big picture and dont get hung up in the minutia