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Is Columbia the Greatest Challenger to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT?

2

Replies to: Is Columbia the Greatest Challenger to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT?

  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,662 Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    OP:

    small nit, but this year's jump to #3 by Columbia in USNews appears to be slieght of hand. Per the Columbia Spectator, USnews gave Columbia credit for the success all the Pell Grantees in the College of General Studies. Yet, USNews did not use the admit stats of GS in their ranking criteria, and instead just reported Columbia College's admission rate of 6%. Including GS's admission rate would have raised the University's overall number and thus, hurt rankings' points. (Not sure its fair to include some of GS's numbers in the ranking, but exclude others.)

    Note: I no longer subscribe to USNews, so cannot verify if the Spectator is correct.

  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,879 Senior Member
    Ranking has no relevance to the OP's "unique advantages" of Columbia, so I hope this thread doesn't digress into ranking discussions.
  • EliteCulture331EliteCulture331 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @bluebayou US News removed acceptance rate from its ranking methodology this year. Columbia has the 3rd lowest acceptance rate in the United States (5.5%) after Stanford and Harvard. If you were to take Columbia College's acceptance rate in isolation (excluding SEAS) it would be closer to 4%.

    So if anything, this year's methodology works against Columbia. GS isn't factored into Columbia's US News score because GS students make a tiny percentage of the student body, don't participate in the Columbia College Core Curriculum, aren't allowed to live in Columbia College/SEAS dorms, register for courses after all other constituent schools and thus hold similar privileges to Harvard Extension School students. Your argument about Pell Grantees could easily be made against Harvard for its Harvard Extension students. I can only imagine what Harvard's acceptance rate would be if you included Harvard Extension School students.

    Calling Columbia's jump to #3 a sleight of hand is really misguided in my opinion. Columbia has been ranked Top 5 for the past decade now and for the most part ahead of both Stanford and UChicago. It has essentially served as the solid #4 school in the nation.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 43,580 Super Moderator
    edited October 2018
    I'm not barred from commenting on my own discussion.
    But you are not allowed to turn it into a debate, which holds true for everyone.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,662 Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    GS isn't factored into Columbia's US News score because GS students make a tiny percentage of the student body...

    Per wikipedia, GS comprises "almost 30%" of the Columbia undergrads, which is a lot more than 'tiny' IMO. GS does have its own Core which, for whatever reason, is separate from Columbia College's Core (although most other classes are open to all).
    Your argument about Pell Grantees could easily be made against Harvard for its Harvard Extension students.

    It's not my argument; again, I was referencing the Columbia Spectator which said the Uni got a ranking's boost from the success of the Pell Grantees in the College of GS. (USNews added a social mobility component this year.) As the local paper at a University with one of the top Journalism programs in the country, I assume that they are correct.

    And perhaps Harvard (and Penn) could probably do the same, but they don't (apparently). But of course, the Harvard extension program is mostly a night deal, and generally part-time, as are many/most? other colleges' non-trad programs. As a day-program mostly integrated into the rest of Columbia's undergrad academics, GS is therefor on the unique side. (~70% of GS are full time students)
  • EliteCulture331EliteCulture331 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @bluebayou Your argument is that US News factors School of GS Pell Grants into Columbia's score but not School of GS's acceptance rate. The Columbia Spectator didn't make that argument. That argument fizzles out because acceptance rate receives zero weight in the US News ranking and so any benefit to Columbia College's 5.5% acceptance is thrown out the window. GS is the smallest undergraduate school at Columbia so yes it is relatively small.

    Harvard Extension students similarly make up about 20%-25% of Harvard undergraduates and follow a curriculum that is modeled after the Harvard College curriculum. Most are not part-time or night school students. Just like School of GS, it is an official school of its university's Faculty of Arts Sciences, which in Harvard's case is made up of Harvard College, SEAS, GSAS and Harvard Extension. Both programs offer post-bac pre-medical programs and are frankly cash cows for the universities.

    To reiterate: Columbia has been ranked on par with Harvard and Yale for the past decade and so calling it a "sleight of hand" is really not sensible.
  • ccdad99ccdad99 Registered User Posts: 165 Junior Member
    @EliteCulture331 wrote:

    Columbia has been ranked Top 5 for the past decade now and for the most part ahead of both Stanford and UChicago. It has essentially served as the solid #4 school in the nation.

    Are these USNews rankings? If so, in the past decade Chicago and Columbia were tied five times, Columbia up three times and Chicago up twice. Overall, they were tied ten times, Columbia up fifteen times, Chicago up nine times. This hardly qualifies as Columbia ahead of Chicago and Stanford for the most part. When either school was up in a particular year it was almost never by a few spots. I did not calculate the numbers for Stanford. Your statement may be more or less accurate with respect to that school.
    By the way, there is no doubt that Columbia is a great school and a peer of HYPS plus MIT. I think calling it a challenger to those underestimates its value.

    http://andyreiter.com/datasets/
  • EliteCulture331EliteCulture331 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @ccdad99 But according to you Columbia has been ranked ahead of UChicago (and Stanford in the last decade) more times than not. Regardless, that's not really my point. My point is - calling a school's jump from #4 to #3 a slight of hand is kind of ridiculous.
  • ccdad99ccdad99 Registered User Posts: 165 Junior Member
    More times than not is not the same as for the most part. In fact for the last decade they were tied half the time. Based on this data, one can easily claim that Columbia was not ahead of Chicago more times than not and for the most part. Again, whether Columbia is ranked #4 or #3 or some other rank within the top 10, there is no disagreement that Columbia is a great school. Its movement up or down in a particular year does not change its value.
  • DeepBlue86DeepBlue86 Registered User Posts: 1,033 Senior Member
    Columbia was always very strong academically, but not so very long ago, it was far easier to get into than HYPS, and many tippy-top students wouldn’t consider it. The reason this has turned around, of course, is the renaissance of New York City, to which Columbia is inextricably linked.

    When New York had 2,000 murders a year in the early 1990s and even the police wouldn’t go into Morningside Park, next to the Columbia campus, Columbia wasn’t for the faint of heart. Now that New York is the safest big city in America, with fewer than 300 murders a year, Columbia is very popular.

    Columbia also benefits from huge numbers of international applicants, who feel comfortable in a city with a claim to being the capital of the world and where >30% of the population is non-native-born. It has more schools, but Columbia now gets many more applications than Princeton and Yale, and almost as many as Harvard.

    As goes New York, though, so goes Columbia. Long may the peace and prosperity continue.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,396 Senior Member
    While NYC is certainly a reason why Columbia stands out, it's not the only one. Columbia has created many new programs and is in the process of creating an entirely new campus -- in NYC a place where space is at a premium.

    https://ny.curbed.com/2018/9/27/17910658/columbia-university-manhattanville-forum-opening

    I predict that it will just keep improving on programs for students, research, new technologies etc.

    Why NYC is important to the picture is because of many things. 1) people come through NYC more than they do nearly any other place in the country. This means that they are likely to come to Columbia for a talk or to collaborate with research -- if they have any academic interests at all or if they simply want the thrill of being at Columbia in the City of NY. This means that the students have a chance to meet, hear from, and network with these people. Other schools require often a special trip -- to New Haven or Boston, or Chicago or Palo Alto. A schlep; 2) students have immediate access to internships in the NYC area -- and the businesses in the area aren't just, you know, your local businesses or NGOs or organizations, often they are the global leaders in a particular area. Not always, of course, but it's likely. You know, everything from the U.N. to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the best jazz or Google or Lincoln Center or Wall Street or fashion industry leaders or sports organizations or journalism or publishing. It's all in NYC at students' toes, within reach, no longer just a dream out there somewhere where someone else is doing it--and professors and administrators are often active participants with these organizations because they are local industries; 3) students have access to not just the invited guests to the campus -- a performer for one night or a guest lecturer to get a taste of world-class culture -- they have access 24-hours a day to the world-class entertainers, thinkers, art studios and museums, dance, opera, theater -- you name it not just one or two nights when a college invites someone in, but every single night. Many of these options exist for students on any given night. The school provides cut-rate or sometimes free passes to these organizations year round. NYC itself offers free access to events year round. The subway system makes getting to these things easy and cheap. 4) NYC is truly multicultural and the education you get by walking on the street for 3 minutes is by itself priceless. Not to mention the outrageously great neighborhoods and foods in Queens, Brooklyn and the other areas of the City.

    And the list goes on.

    So you could say that the school has advantages over the other Ivies and Ivie-level schools because of its own innovations and because NYC is a global leader in so many areas. For both the city and the school: people want to be there. That's the single biggest advantage.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,877 Senior Member
    Propping the argument up on a partnership with IBM made me laugh, actually.
  • EliteCulture331EliteCulture331 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @intparent The argument isn't propped up on a partnership with IBM. Columbia's Data Science and Financial Engineering programs are considered the best in the United States.

    @DeepBlue86 Columbia was never "far easier" to get into than Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT. For a great deal of time Yale was considered a country club compared to Columbia academically. I was rejected from Columbia and accepted at Princeton while also being accepted at Penn and Cornell. During the 1980s it was about as selective as UChicago was until their recent surge in applications.

    My uncle attended Columbia during the 1960s when it was actually harder to get into than Stanford and considered academically on par and even superior to schools like Yale. My father was additionally rejected at Columbia and accepted into Stanford. In fact, Richard Feynman was devastated to be turned down at Columbia (because of the Jewish quota) and had to settle for his second choice ... MIT. That's the kind of juggernaut Columbia once was regardless of New York's status.
  • EliteCulture331EliteCulture331 Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @Center Please clarify what you mean by "not remotely ... too many limitations". The schools is ranked among the top 3 universities in the nation and top 10 universities in the world. Evidently, nothing has limited the school from being among the tippy-top schools.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,270 Senior Member
    Limitations include its geographic location (physical limitations and expense) and its finances-while fantastic dont compare to some others. Key though--there are many rankings and all are different: some schools get bumped up when they build a new field house or facilities. Columbia is a great school of course but you seem obsessed with convincing everyone that its better than others.
This discussion has been closed.