right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Toughest 20

RiversiderRiversider 844 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
edited September 6 in College Confidential Cafe
Please rearrange this list (WSJ 2020) according to general academic rigor of schools? I understand that all of these schools are academically rigorous and often things vary for different majors, yet kindly indulge me with your opinion of which schools are academically most challenging. Think of it as which school would be most unsuitable for “special case” admits like Aunt Becky’s daughter.

1) Harvard
2) MIT
3) Yale
4) Penn
5) CalTech
5) Princeton
7) Brown
8) Stanford
9) Cornell
10) Duke

11) Northwestern University
12) Johns Hopkins University
12) Dartmouth College
14) University of Chicago
15) Columbia University
16) Rice University
17) Vanderbilt University
18) USC (Southern Cal)
19) WashUStL
20) Amherst College
edited September 6
24 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: Toughest 20

  • brantlybrantly 3940 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    None of them. I'd put Swarthmore and Williams at the top. And maybe Deep Springs College.
    edited September 6
    · Reply · Share
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2235 replies38 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Of course it depends on the major, the classes and the professors. No one has enough intimate knowledge of each of those schools to even average those factors.
    · Reply · Share
  • RiversiderRiversider 844 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 6
    brantly wrote: »
    None of them. I'd put Swarthmore and Williams at the top. And maybe Deep Springs College.

    Please read my question again, I’m only asking about these 20. I too prefer my alma mater Unicorn U but it’s not on the list.
    edited September 6
    · Reply · Share
  • RiversiderRiversider 844 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
    Of course it depends on the major, the classes and the professors. No one has enough intimate knowledge of each of those schools to even average those factors.

    Agreed but not looking for exact answer just general perception.
    · Reply · Share
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4077 replies87 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Berkeley is at or near the top in ranking in almost all major majors, yet doesn’t show up on this list. Throw this one away, useless.
    · Reply · Share
  • RiversiderRiversider 844 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 6
    Berkeley is at or near the top in ranking in almost all major majors, yet doesn’t show up on this list. Throw this one away, useless.

    I’m not endorsing this list, just asking for a rearrangement of these 20 schools according to general perception of rigor, if anyone is interesting to play. You are most welcome to ignore or object.

    edited September 6
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 8029 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Depends upon the particular major as well as upon quality of classmates. My best guess is that CalTech, MIT, Princeton & Chicago would among the most academically rigorous of this list of 20 schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7273 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree that it totally depends on major but I would put MIT, Cal Tech, Cornell, JHU, and U Chicago at the top of a list of academically tough.
    · Reply · Share
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4077 replies87 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    And by going with a list like this you’re missing out on 20 other schools that might be more suitable for your needs.
    Riversider wrote: »
    Berkeley is at or near the top in ranking in almost all major majors, yet doesn’t show up on this list. Throw this one away, useless.

    I’m not endorsing this list, just asking for a rearrangement of these 20 schools according to general perception of rigor, if anyone is interesting to play. You are most welcome to ignore or object.

    · Reply · Share
  • washugradwashugrad 1135 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'd definitely put Cal Tech, MIT, and U Chicago in the top rank. Beyond that I don't know enough to say. Back when I was at Wash U there were definitely a few "Aunt Becky's daughter" types, mostly undergrad business majors (also plenty of really smart people so don't let that scare you off, plus that was 30 years ago, but it would have been possible to graduate without being the most diligent student).
    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34147 replies378 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why rearrange? Why not look at this group as a collection of academically rigorous colleges? Who wins anything if folks agree X is tougher than Y, based on their experience- or worse, some guess? Few on CC can offer any comparison.

    My kids didn't attend any of those and I still feel their education was highly rigorous, comparable to what those offer. And, working for a tippy top, I can tell you plenty of kids slide by, find the easier courses, settle for B or C grades, wander through the 4 years.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with @momofsenior1 . I’d throw Columbia up there too. I’ve heard that UChicago has “lightened” up in the last decade, but no back up info. I can’t begin to start with the others—maybe UPenn a bit more rigorous than the rest.
    · Reply · Share
  • brantlybrantly 3940 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Riversider wrote: »
    brantly wrote: »
    None of them. I'd put Swarthmore and Williams at the top. And maybe Deep Springs College.

    Please read my question again, I’m only asking about these 20. I too prefer my alma mater Unicorn U but it’s not on the list.

    Neither of these is my alma mater, but nice try. There is no answer to your question and, I dare say, you are looking at it the wrong way. Don't look at it by what a school can "provide" the student. The student is not a passive recipient of rigor. It's a two-way experience. Student A at University of South Carolina can have a more rigorous experience than Student B at Columbia.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78242 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 7
    Perhaps the only "general" ranking of minimum rigor/difficulty can be based on core or GE requirements, both in volume and rigor of such, since they are common to all students. Even then, some students may find some types of GE requirements more difficult than others, so the ranking may vary from one student to another. But a first approximation:

    Caltech
    MIT, Chicago, Columbia, any others with heavy core or GE requirements
    all others somewhere in here
    Amherst, Brown (no GE requirements)
    edited September 7
    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34147 replies378 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm one who believes grade deflation has an impact. You work harder for an A. But as brantly notes, the work effort is on the kid.
    · Reply · Share
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5515 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 7
    I knew three people who did undergrad at MIT, and either graduate school or law school at Harvard. All three agree that MIT is significantly more difficult than Harvard academically.

    I have degrees from MIT and Stanford. I would put them quite close to each other. The quarter system at Stanford will go a lot better if you never let yourself fall behind in any class -- the end of the quarter comes up quickly. However, in terms of overall academic rigor I don't think there is much difference. There is probably a larger difference between specific professors and specific classes within either school than between schools. If I had to choose I would put MIT as more academically tough than Stanford, but not by much.
    edited September 7
    · Reply · Share
  • skieuropeskieurope 39251 replies7015 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited September 7
    I knew three people who did undergrad at MIT, and either graduate school or law school at Harvard. All three agree that MIT is significantly more difficult than Harvard academically.
    Comparing undergrad courses to grad/professional courses is apples and oranges. Even comparing a "typical" MIT undergrad course to a "typical" Harvard undergrad course can't be done (or at least is not meaningful). Having taken undergrad courses at both Harvard and MIT, I don't think there is much difference in rigor of the courses, or the workload but there is a difference, IMO, in the ability to get an A in the course.
    edited September 7
    · Reply · Share
  • jym626jym626 55543 replies2895 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How many angels are dancing on the head of this pin?
    · Reply · Share
  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 3984 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 7
    I’m amazed that adults are so obsessed with college rankings. And we wonder where teens learn it.
    edited September 7
    · Reply · Share
  • RiversiderRiversider 844 replies101 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 8
    I’m amazed that adults are so obsessed with college rankings. And we wonder where teens learn it.

    There is a large variety of obsessions at display here at CC forums and most of us wonder at other people’s amazing obsessions while completely unaware of our own obsessions. Not any different from any other sample group of humans.
    edited September 8
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity