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US NEWS Releases Top 10 Public Schools, and Things Changed

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Replies to: US NEWS Releases Top 10 Public Schools, and Things Changed

  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 7,242 Senior Member
    edited September 7
    Re @Corbett's reply #28:

    USC: 20-26
  • rocket88rocket88 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    Selectivity: The University of California could easily massage its selectivity numbers by changing the admission process. It's a blatantly manipulable statistic, and I am glad that certain schools are operating to maximize their value to their constituencies, rather than please USNW.

    When looking at college rankings, you need to consider a variety of sources. Don't fret about whether a school is #7 vs #17, but rather see if a school can hold up across multiple (biased, subjective) ranking systems. Here are two highly divergent ways of looking at a college:

    http://www.surfer.com/features/top-10-surf-colleges/
    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/top-10-universities-producing-nobel-prizewinners

    Bottom line: You can't educate undergrads, win Nobels, and surf all at the same place--unless you're at UCSB! (Or UCSD, Irvine, UCLA, or USC.) If you're in-state and not getting much financial aid, the UCs are a great deal, as well.

    And I would say that if you're in-state in Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington, etc. it probably makes sense to attend the excellent colleges in those states. At some level, the college has to be "good enough"--then it's a matter of what the student does with the opportunity, not whether the school is #7 or #17 (or #170) on someone's arbitrary ranking grid.
  • simba9simba9 Registered User Posts: 2,654 Senior Member
    Totally agree with vanvalen's comment. When I was going to college, several of the CS professors in my school got their PhDs from Caltech. They were terrible teachers. A couple of the best college professors I ever had only held Masters degrees. They weren't focused on research. They were focused on teaching, and they were very good at it.

    I've had plenty of professors who really knew their field and were probably great at doing research, but they couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,471 Senior Member
    edited September 8
    It seems to me that access for lower income instate students and general financial aid for instate students should be factored into public universities' rankings, alongside class sizes* , graduation rates, etc.

    * while UWisconsin successfully raised money to retain faculty, it could be that the intro undergraduate classes got the short end of the stick after the budget cuts, with classes larger than 40 and larger than 100 increasing. This happened at UIUC too.

    As for research, yes if you look at the Times rankings, which are research based, American public universities are now overcome by quite a few public universities in other countries, with Asia making the fastest strides - if you compare the first rankings to this year's for some American publics the "slide" is very real. Basically countries that invest heavily into higher education at all levels see the fastest rise. The universities "pushed out" tend to be Universities where public investment has not kept level or been increased.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 2,852 Senior Member
    @vanvalen -- I'm not worried that folks would interpret my statement about a factor that was meaningful/useful in my family as some universal endorsement of that approach by all academic families. A glance at the threads on "schools that went up or down" or "the dumbest reason a kid refused to consider a school" illustrates that families make distinctions among schools based on a whole lot of factors. Those threads are interesting, and amusing, because we chuckle about how some factor that turned someone else off, or on, would have mattered not a bit to us.

    My point about quality of faculty training was that "top" faculty can be found teaching at all kinds of schools because of how tight the job market is, and that the distinction between 8, 10 and 25 is not meaningful in terms of the "education" in the classroom. "Top" faculty can be anywhere.
  • ThankYouforHelpThankYouforHelp Registered User Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    @Midwestmomofboys You said: " I get frustrated that acceptance rate is considered a significant metric precisely because it encourages the Chicago etc. phenomenon of jacking up numbers to reduce the acceptance rate. Chicago was a superb school twenty years ago when the acceptance rate was much higher, and it is still a superb school now when the acceptance rate is much lower. The false message to some who don't dig beneath the simple rankings, is that Chicago is "better" now because more students apply."

    Yes, academically UChicago was superb before and it is superb now. The primary reason that UChicago's acceptance rate has dropped is because it put a couple billion dollars into its dorms, dining halls, athletic facilities, student activities, career counseling, etc. It used to be a place where you would get a great education but a grim quality of life, and now is is a place where you get a great education with a great quality of life. So top applicants are flocking to it now when they stayed away before. Moreover, in the past few decades all of the elite urban schools have done well, because city life has become more popular among students. A few decades ago, Columbia, UPenn and Johns Hopkins all accepted about two thirds of their applicants.

    Anyhow, acceptance rate isn't actually a "significant metric" in the rankings. It is 1.25% of the US News formula. UChicago didn't affect its US News ranking by "jacking up numbers" that only affect one one-hundredth of that ranking.


  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,578 Super Moderator
    But to my professor spouse, if someone didn't get trained by the best (or at least better) minds in the field, then they aren't prepared to think and, therefore, be in a position to teach at the highest (or at least higher) level, to undergrads. So training matters. It does not mean those professors are the best at communicating, mentoring, leading etc, but it does mean they are prepared to engage with their discipline at the highest/higher level.

    I have to say that I roundly disagree with this. I have a PhD myself, from a top 10-15 program in my field, and I work as a researcher in industry (but have also taught college classes). I have lots of friends who are professors. I don't necessarily disagree that those who attended top programs are better prepared to think at a higher level, maybe, than students who attended lower-ranked programs (although I think that has at least as much to do with the fact that top PhD programs can select undergraduate students who are already thinking and performing at higher levels as it does with the training in these programs).

    But being able to think at the highest levels doesn't necessarily translate into communicating, mentoring, and teaching, and I think those are absolutely vital for good teaching to undergrads. I don't quite understand the logic of "well, he may not be a good teacher, but man can he think!" Simply thinking deep thoughts doesn't help stuff the knowledge into the students' brains.

    And that's true of both STEM professors and humanities and social science professors - there are plenty of humanities and social science professors who are such great thinkers that the university basically pays them to teach one or two graduate-level classes and spend the rest of their time thinking and writing in their offices, unfettered by undergraduates. There are lots of great thinkers whose idea of teaching is to get up and ramble in front of the class for 50 minutes.

    I also think there's a real danger in students selecting a college for some narrow field of specialty, particularly when college students change their mind about their interests all the time and the actual act of going to college may change that. I think it's better to choose for strengths across a variety of fields and overall quality.
  • blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Why rank public vs public. What does that mean ? Why separate these out from privates ?

    I can see ranking within state, for those who can only afford in state tuition,
    but if you are looking nationally, the costs go up and one should consider private school in that case.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,106 Super Moderator
    edited September 10
    blevine, while I agree that public and private research universities are peer institutions, using the same methodology to rank them will yield less than optimal results.

    For example, the US News ranking has alumni donation and financial resources components in its methodology. The majority of a public university's alumni live in the state and pay taxes to their alma matter on a monthly basis. Besides, public universities are usually more conservative and less aggressive when it comes to soliciting donations from their alumni. For a number of reasons, comparing alumni donation rates at public universities to those at private universities is not entirely relevant, fair or analogous.

    Also, one of the factors used in the financial resources rank is financial aid. Again, since the majority of the students at a public university are residents, they already attend at a highly discounted rate. As such, public universities will not be as generous with financial aid as are their private counterparts because they are already much cheaper for a large chunk of their student bodies.

    There are other parts of the US News methodology that hurt public universities as well. There is a way to rank them side by side, by tweaking the methodology in areas where public and private universities differ from each other.
  • VANDEMORY1342VANDEMORY1342 Registered User Posts: 663 Member
    edited September 10
    @Alexandre
    I think you're being bias or at least a bit facetious.
    The public Unis do well on certain metrics that their private peers seem to struggle in, that essentially helps keep the public ranking high (unjustly so in my honest opinion). Take PR score for example UCB with a 4.7, UCLA with a 4.5, UMich with a 4.4 speaks to the inflated reputation public's have peer over private schools that offer just as good if not better education.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,106 Super Moderator
    edited September 10
    UCLA's PA rating is 4.2, not 4.5. Michigan's 4.4 rating is in line with that of its closest peers, as is Cal's 4.7 PA rating. There is nothing facetious or biased about my post. PA ratings are not based on factors that favor public universities over private universities or vice versa. 31 universities have PA ratings
    of 4.0 or better. Of those, only 8 are public. The remaining 23 are private. 16 of the top 20 PA ratings belong to private universities. I do not see how the PA ratings favors public universities, or how their reputations are inflated. Those reputation ratings are, after all, based on the opinion of the presidents and provosts of peer institutions, many, if not most, of which are private. Perhaps it is your own perception of certain universities that is inflated...or deflated in the case of others.
    Post edited by Alexandre on
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    2018 ranking released. Uchicago again tied for third with Yale.
  • bb3nycbb3nyc Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    I went online to see the news. Brown was 14, and Cornell and Rice were tied for 15. Vanderbilt followed.

    A couple hours later, I went online to send it to a friend--but by then, Brown, Cornell, Rice, and Vanderbilt were tied for 14.

    This proves my theory that the U.S News rankings are ridiculous and arbitrary. Better schools are better than lesser schools. We don't need U.S. News to tell us that. They're just trying (successfully, it seems) to sell magazines.
  • 10s4life10s4life Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    UCLA, UC Berkeley and USC are tied for 21. Makes sense to me. Hard to tell the difference betweeen them each excels in different fields.
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