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Updated "objective" rankings...

binglebingle Registered User Posts: 427 Member
edited February 2009 in Carleton College
StarTribune: College ranking do-over: Minnesota school slipped in at No. 15
College ranking do-over: Minnesota school slipped in at No. 15
By PAUL WALSH, Star Tribune

Last update: February 11, 2009 - 12:28 PM

And just when you thought there was only one recount that Minnesotans have a stake in.

Earlier this week, a new ranking of the nation's colleges came out and placed Macalester in St. Paul as tops in the state, coming in at No. 79 out of the 2,000 on the list. Well, now StateUniversity.com has quietly slipped in Carleton College in Northfield at No. 15. The website's spokesman, Bill Richards, explained today that Carleton was initially left out "due to insufficient data." "Carleton College has since been in touch with us and has provided up-to-date statistics that enabled us to rank them -- very highly, in fact," Richards said.

He added that while there are no other adjustments in the works, "the list is dynamically updated as new data is obtained."

StateUniversity.com calls Carleton "one of the country's best liberal arts colleges," which "attracts a talented, diverse, and intelligent group of students, many of whom were initially considering matriculation at the Ivies."

The website added that Carleton's students are "expected and required to complete a wide range of courses in varied subjects." These requirements "are designed with the intention that all students' four-year academic experience will have breadth as well as depth."

Carleton's addition has pushed Macalester down a notch to No. 80. The same can be said for St. Olaf, another Northfield school, which is now ranked 98th. The state's largest university, Minnesota, Twin Cities, is now ranked 194th.

Ranked at the top is Stanford. Rounding out the top 10 are MIT, West Point, Princeton, Cornell, Cal Tech, Amherst, Rice, Williams and Brown.

StateUniversity.com calls its rankings "100 percent objective." It says it has built its results based on a "comprehensive survey of verified data, including student/faculty ratio, student retention and test scores."

To see the complete list, visit Top 2000 Ranked Universities for Highest Overall School Score.
Post edited by bingle on

Replies to: Updated "objective" rankings...

  • magneticpoetmagneticpoet Registered User Posts: 347 Member
    haha, i wonder who the original #15 was!
  • starbucks08starbucks08 Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    I know that rankings are really stupid, but No.15 ??? when combined with MIT, Stanford, Williams, etc? Whoaaa that's kinda good.... isn't it?
  • dietcokewithlimedietcokewithlime Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    I can't believe someone *****ed to the Strib to get a correction for what is clearly a pretty dumb ranking (USMA and Cornell up so high? come on).

    The comments on the article are hilarious.
  • mflevitymflevity Registered User Posts: 1,201 Senior Member
    Lol @ UPenn...#75? Really?

    I'm usually not one to pay much attention to rankings and lists, but this one seems especially kooky.
  • HollyloveHollylove Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    Weird list...while I'm totally proud of Carleton for being up so high I can't help but feel it's pretty off...haha.
  • Dairy State K8Dairy State K8 Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    The fact that Clackamas Community College outranks Kenyon is some indication that this ranking is a bit suspect.
  • fireflyscoutfireflyscout Registered User Posts: 5,424 Senior Member
    Texas State Technical College (Waco) at 94? I *might* understand Texas Tech, but TSTC should not even be in the top 2000. What on earth are their criteria?
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    Some of my personal favorites among regional rivals:

    Santa Clara (#33) > Berkeley (#133) (Silicon Valley sunshine wins out every time)

    Penn State (#63) > U Penn (#75) (Penn State's been waiting for this one for a long time)

    U Conn (#49) > Columbia (#58) (I think these two should settle this on a basketball court)

    About the only thing that makes sense about this (yet another convoluted) ranking system is that Carleton (#15) finishes solidly ahead of those has-beens, Harvard (#24) and Yale (#23):p
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 9,730 Senior Member
    Many of the rankings have changed now, 2 weeks after the last post on this thread. For example, Texas State Technical College now is at 143, not 94. Columbia and U Penn have moved up (a little).

    Granted, there are still many oddities in these rankings (including the Columbia and Penn positions). It looks to me as if somebody jumped the gun on publishing this thing, so the quality control suffered. Follow the link to the full entry for Middlebury, whose total cost is listed at $3,250. Gee, do you think there's any chance that's correct? Is there still time to apply?

    That said, this is a very interesting resource. The full records for each college contain a wealth of information that you don't find elsewhere, not even in the common data set documents. For instance, if you care about "diversity", you can get a breakdown of race/ethnic distribution by major. The detailed faculty salary data may be informative to some people, too, though as somebody pointed out it's not clear how this might be adjusted for local cost of living.

    But notice among the top ranked schools how little difference there is, in some of the most important factors, between schools ranked 20 or more points apart. Colorado College (number 40) has a retention rate of 94% , a student ratio of 11:1, and selectivity of 32%. Wesleyan (number 17) has a retention of 95% , student ratio of 9:1, and selectivity of 28%. If those numbers are at all accurate, it goes to show that "objective" rankings (by themselves) provide a rather slim basis for distinguishing schools within a narrow peer group. If you have strong feelings about the weather, the geographic location, or some other feature that is not ranked (and perhaps can't be ranked), then these may be worth a lot more in your personal assessment than small differences in the features that are ranked.
This discussion has been closed.