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Why is Columbia ranked higher than Stanford?


Replies to: Why is Columbia ranked higher than Stanford?

  • Blah2009Blah2009 1318 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Real smart Jamie. If you bothered to examine the source of the numbers and not just the article date, you'd realize the study was performed with high school seniors from the class of 2000 in 1996..


    As for the cross-admits, see here:

    Ben’s Eighth Semi-Annual Q&A | MIT Admissions

    "Can you give us some rough idea of the usual cross-admit breakdown with Caltech? A fellow from there, relying on the "Revealed Preference" study, says Caltech gets 56% of the cross admits.
    Posted by: Phil on March 15, 2006
    Phil, going by last year's mutual admits, it's about 19% to Caltech, 64% to MIT, and 17% to a different college altogether. The response rate to our study was 92% (1390 of 1508 admits responding) so it should be fairly accurate.
    Posted by: Ben on March 15, 2006"

    I will retract my previous statement. It was based on discussion with classmates that now work at Columbia admissions and Brown admissions. MIT doesn't appear they share matriculant info based on cross-admitted students but only commonly admitted students. They still have to survey students to see who they "won" against based on final selected destination. There's still a reliance on surveys to admitted students as you can see.
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  • JamieBrownJamieBrown 388 replies13 threads- Member
    by Blah2009
    I also know harvard wins around 8/10 with Yale.

    care to let us know that source of this data?
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  • ewhoewho 1387 replies54 threads Senior Member
    Collecting data should be fairly easy. All they need to do is to send the lists of admits and matriculates to each other in October, simple thing that could be like the phone call Shaw did to MIT. Yale has everything online. I could see every EA admit from last year.
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  • collegeftwcollegeftw 532 replies10 threads Member
    Lol i like how some people on here are so obsessed with defending how a particular school is better than another and pulling up all these data (JamieBrown)

    1) I got to Columbia, so what I say may be a bit skewed, disclaimer

    2) As stated throughout this thread, there are multiple indicators to a school's "prestige" - objective scores, scholar titles, yield rates, etc. - Stanford and Columbia both rank high, and both beat the other in several areas by a few, what does it honestly do to compare even more closely (oh Stanford beats Columbia in more things, therefore it is more prestigious)?

    3) You can say Stanford has been a driving force of innovation for the past decades - and I agree - but I could counter with the fact that Columbia has more nobel laureates and was crucial for the Manhattan Project. If you think Stanford or Columbia is more prestigious than the other one - GREAT FOR YOU! I'm sure all of us do. But desperately trying to convince another on a forum is like this is kind of a waste of time, don't you think?

    3) Yes all the data may be objective, yes Stanford wins cross admit battles with Columbia, yes the name "Stanford" is more well known than Columbia somewhat internationally, but at the end of the say, if you're even smart enough to get into one of the two, JamieBrown, does it really matter? If you go to Stanford, would you really legit sit there and think to yourself on a day - to -day basis "YEAH STANFORD IS MORE WELL KNOWN THAN COLUMBIA?"
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  • melody10511melody10511 237 replies37 threads- Junior Member
    US Ranking hates California.
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  • myusername4menowmyusername4menow 26 replies2 threads New Member
    So it seems so far this thread has been an all-out battle for prestige. But, as I am a junior starting to seriously consider these two colleges, could we look at something more and try to understand what makes these two universities different?

    Could somebody please take the time to describe the social atmospheres of both these schools?
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4323 replies11 threads Senior Member
    US News should just rank HYP 1/2/3 (in any order...) every year, and then rank

    Cal Tech
    U Chicago

    ...and maybe even a few of these, if they happen to have an especially good year:

    Johns Hopkins
    Washington U

    ...tied for 4th; so that, most years, it would be HYP and then like seven schools tied for fourth, so fewer schools' feelings would be hurt.

    Honestly, I can pick out one thing about Stanford, right off the bat, that maybe means the difference between being up there with HYP and instead being tied for 5th with four other exceptional schools, behind Columbia:


    Stanford is 9th among national universities in terms of average SAT and 11th overall -- Harvey Mudd and Pomona's averages are also higher.

    This is not an endorsement of USN&WR's methodology, of course -- college ranking methodologies are like you-know-whats: everyone's got one.
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  • lagunallagunal 577 replies23 threads Member
    Some of the people I know (about 12 people) who were accepted to Stanford were really nothing special. They were all rejected from at least one of USNWR's "lesser ranked" schools. One had a 3.7 GPA but was an exceptional athlete (not 'Olympic' exceptional, but a strong athlete). Two others didn't even take AP Lang or AP Lit in school; they were minority status, but they were Americans who spoke perfect English. Actually, 6 were 'minority' status with either one or more parents from Philippines, Mexico, and another Central American country. One is African American. Several are athletes. Almost all of them were either recruited or were accepted Early. But even the ones who were accepted early applied to their state school and schools with early deadlines for scholarships as a back up.

    I don't think any of them were the "cream of the crop" of high school. They were in the top 5% of the class as an athlete, scholar or leader, but not #1 in anything. If I had never seen the USNWR and only went by the people I knew who were accepted into schools, I would not put Stanford in the top ten. I would have picked Columbia over Stanford.. and following that thought, I would also put Harvard, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Penn, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, and MIT ahead of Stanford. Not scientifically based, to be sure. But I see Stanford more as a athlete scholar school over an academic school just based on the people I know who have either been accepted, matriculated or graduated from the school. Maybe that is why their SAT scores are not as strong as the other schools.

    Editing: I remember one boy who is really smart. That's 13 people total. He was a National Merit Finalist. None of the others even made NMF status.
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  • Blah2009Blah2009 1318 replies19 threads Senior Member
    "Not scientifically based, to be sure."

    See here: http://www.nationalmerit.org/annual_report.pdf

    That is an understatement. Columbia in 2011-2012 enrolled 88 non-institutionally supported National Merit Scholars (not NMF, but WINNERS of the national merit competition - a large step above NMF and generally the cream of the crop students). Stanford had 139 - below only Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. You also forget that Stanford has competitive DI athletes, hence the slightly lower SATs. You pretty much have to be top of your class if you're not a recruited athlete.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4323 replies11 threads Senior Member
    That is my understanding: you have to be a stellar student, URM or not, to get in -- unless you are a D1 athlete.

    Looking at the top ten, Stanford is the only school with mainstream D1 athletics: football, basketball, baseball, hockey (just kidding), etc. Duke and Northwestern are similar in that regard as fringe top-ten undergrad programs.

    Someone should do a study of Stanford's admitted/accepted freshmen SAT and GPA stats... taking out the recruited athletes.

    Sure, other schools also make allowances for their athletes, but to be competitive in D1 athletics, often those allowances must be large relative to the rest of the student body.

    Personally, I would have Stanford fourth for undergrad... maybe tied with MIT.

    I'd put Columbia tied for 5th with Cal Tech, Penn, Chicago, etc.

    Really, IMO, there isn't much between #1 and #10, if anything. We are blessed as a nation to have so many outstanding schools among which to choose.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threads Member
    The typical stanford athlete should be given more credit than they are receiving. These students are top in their fields, whether you (lagunal) believe that or not. I can't imagine any athlete going to Stanford who is just mediocre. To be a top 5% student in a school and an athlete worthy of Stanfords D1 athletics, makes for an exceptional individual.

    In my S's school a kid in the top 5% would rank around 30/600. There GPA would be around 100 weighted. Thats only possible by taking a handful of AP and mostly honors. Kudos to those kids. If you think you can keep up those grades and still be an athlete then give it a try. Its not easy. When everyone else is home eating dinner, those kids are still at practice or private training or games that don't allow them to get home before 10pm.

    I have a S who attends Stanford. He graduated in the top 1%. I also have a daughter who is a very good athlete. The work and time that she spends in sports is crazy. When kids, like even my own S, were already home for 4 hours, showered, ate dinner and halfway through school work, my D is walking in the door to begin all of that. People have to give these athletes more credit. At the end of the day their GPA's my not be as high as my S's but you have to figure into the equation all the time they don't have to dedicate to just their studies. Its easy to focus on one thing- academics. They doing both. I think Stanford students are an amazing group of kids. As a whole, they all bring something more to the plate than just academics. Thats what make Stanford - Stanford. Its different. It doesn't try to be like Harvard, Yale, Columbia or MIT. Its very unique, and for that reason the students love it!!!!!!!

    Honestly, its in a class all by itself. Stanford produces some of the best athletes in the country, some of the greatest entrepenuers in the world, and some of the best scientists. Not many schools can boast all that. The rankings really mean nothing, the accomplishments of the students speak volumes!!!!!!!

    Go Cardinal!!!!!!
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  • Senior0991Senior0991 2362 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Agree with the two above posters about athletes. The fact that we play in the Pac 12 helps to explain why our SAT profile is lower than peer academic schools- it has to be for us to compete in the conference. Although all our athletes are bright and motivated, they generally score lower on standardized tests, especially in the revenue sports (football and basketball). Having only 1500 or so students in a class, just 100 lower-scoring athletes will make a tangible difference to the score distribution.

    That said, athletes are some of the most accomplished people I know, and not just on the field or in the classroom. Sometimes I wonder how they have time for it all, or have had time enough to acquire so many talents.

    Also, regarding what someone posted a few posts back, saying how those who got into Stanford are not that academically gifted, maybe in terms of test scores that is true. But maybe Stanford saw something in them that is not apparent from test scores, or GPA. I like to think Stanford saw something in me that I was only beginning to realize at that point in time. Sure, I had a 3.7 GPA, which could easily have been written off. But, I had almost a 4.0 my junior and senior years. One number doesn't really say much.

    And one number still doesn't. I'm heading into my senior year, and it's becoming apparent where some of my peers are heading. The destinations are impressive. And you may never have guessed by looking at their GPA, or major.
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  • DungareedollDungareedoll 920 replies66 threads Member
    Interestingly enough I also want to add that although some people may not respect the athletes at Stanford many of the big investment companies do. Most companies are extremely impressed with scholar athletes, like the Stanford kids because they are able to balance everything so well.

    Also I think its interesting that people put so much weight on SAT scores because at the end of the day Stanford turnsdown lots of kids with perfect scores. So obviously this low SAT thing is by design. Once again the stanford admission officers seems to know what they are doing because at the end of the day Stanford has won the Directors Cup for 17 years in a row, we had something like 18 medals at the Olympics this year and who was the founder of Instagram? Kids from Stanford. And the list could go on. So if it aint broke don't fix it.....................Yup Stanford has a great recipe for success.
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4323 replies11 threads Senior Member
    One thing to be said about student athletes: they surely have figured out how to manage their time and multi-task.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6007 replies213 threads Senior Member
    Stanford not only selects students who've achieved great things already, they select students who are risk-taking and entrepreneurial. Stanford's niche in the academic world is in innovation rather than tradition, especially in technology. In other fields they also shine due to their open-minded, interdisciplinary approach. Sometimes kids have lower GPA's because they took risks. In our high school, there are several super tough classes that grade grubbers avoid, but kids who truly value learning take them despite the potential hit to their grades. Stanford sniffs out this type of student. Nothing against Columbia, but the kids from our high school who got in were very traditional, nose-to-the-grindstone students who followed the tried and true academic path.
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  • moshotmoshot 93 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Dungareedoll said it all. You might as well add "dead tired" to "my D is walking in the door
    to begin all of that". Most people under estimate the effort and time it takes to become an athlete let alone the classes missed because of the sports.
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  • GF2015GF2015 29 replies2 threads Junior Member
    As for the National Merit Scholarship awardees, Stanford's number 139 falls behind some other schools besides HYP, Rice 166, WUSTL 218, Vanderbilt 226, far behind its instate neighbor University of Southern California 254, Northwestern 235, Chicago 255. But Stanford still produces the best students, even their students are not as brainy as its peers.
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  • zenkoanzenkoan 1106 replies12 threads Senior Member
    GF2015, many of the schools you listed give large tuition discounts to National Merit awardees, whereas Stanford doesn't. (Stanford's financial aid is need-based.) For many families these days, the availability of merit discounts necessarily plays a big role in determining where their students matriculate. However, Stanford has no difficulty whatsoever attracting loads of very brainy students without offering merit discounts, I can assure you. ; )
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  • asdasd77asdasd77 50 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Always take "rankings" with a grain of salt. So many factors and variables are taken into account when schools are pitted against one another. Stanford clearly possesses the more legendary and amazing reputation.
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  • goldenboy8784goldenboy8784 1663 replies35 threads Senior Member
    You have to subtract the "sponsored" NM winners from the total to get the amount of winners who actually were awarded the $2,500 cash prize from NMSC.
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