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Rankings -- Which are the most trustworthy?


Replies to: Rankings -- Which are the most trustworthy?

  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 1,999 Senior Member
    edited February 10
    @northwesty Penn was #4 for many years in 2000s (which was a bit too high). The jump from outside the top 10 in the mid-late 1990s to #4 happened due to the amazing improvements that President Judith Rodin made to the University and also intent focus on rankings. Penn was able to sustain its top #10 spot since then and that is why it is now considered a top 10 school just a notch below HYPSM. Penn definitely benefitted from its jump from outside the top 10, into the the top 10 and its sustained top 10 ranking, just like Chicago has benefitted from that in recent years.

    However, small moves within the top 10 do not change the perception people have unless they are dramatic changes supported by actual changes and improvement of the school and if they happen organically. HYPSM are the top 5 no matter what USNews says at a specific year. Columbia, Penn,Chicago,Caltech have been the solid #6 - #9 in peoples perceptions for quite some time now in some order or another and #10 fluctuates. This is because the perception people have of a school is not solely shaped by USNews. i don't think that it is a coincidence that HYPSM comes on top if one aggregates all the college rankings out there. Like many did here:


    Proof that individual spots do not matter as much is that Princeton has been ranked #1 for years and Stanford has not entered the top 3 since forever and yet Harvard, Stanford are considered the top schools nowadays. Nowadays most people know that Stanford is a stronger school than Princeton (or Yale).

    Some goes with Penn, when it was #4 for several years, no one believed it was a better school than MIT or Columbia. People continued to choose MIT over Penn and choose Columbia more or less equally with Penn.
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,392 Senior Member

    @penn95 I agree about HSPYM for undergrad, but @Chrchill is including all grad & professional schools. That makes me think that Princeton drops down because of limited grad programs, and both Columbia and Penn would move up because the the high quality across a wide range of programs like in Medicine, MBA, Law, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences. Thoughts?
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 903 Member
    Columbia I would agree. PENN really only has top professional graduate schools. Also, Columbia has much greater global name recognition than Penn.
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 903 Member
    @Much2learn Penn does not compare to Princeton or Chicago in global reputation. UChicago Booth is ranked second and Wharton third. Chicago Law school is a top four school whereas Penn law school is low top ten. Penn medical school is clearly much higher ranked than Chicago. So that's two to one in favor of Chicago in the three key professional schools. Chicago and Princeton also clearly slay Penn in academic graduate programs, ranging from economics and political science to physics, math. Astronomy and most area studies and humanities. Chicago is at the very top of nobel prize winners globally.
    Columbia has been slipping badly in business (ranked 10) and medical schools. But it's clearly is a powerhouse in many other professional chools and academic subjects. It is Chicago's peer in Nobel prizes.

  • DadofThree111DadofThree111 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Very interesting that this discussion focuses on schools as a whole and not measurments of the value added to students' educations. DD and I have certainly used rankings as data sources (US News Global, ARWU and NTU are favorites). But our emphasis, like that of several other posters, is what the data tell us about the educational opportunities she will receive. Toward that end, we focus on the departments that are important to her, the professors that she's likely to interact with, and the school/college that houses them. Overall measures of a university have much less meaning to us.

    For an interesting perspective on how the "top" schools deal with students that aren't already well resourced and educated, check out the following link and the related story/research paper: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html?_r=0

    And, BTW, I am not opposed to "top" schools (Princeton is one of DD's favorites). But my concern is for her education, not the world's view of which school she goes to. The "top" schools have no monopoly on individual success.

  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 1,999 Senior Member
    edited February 12
    @Churchill just not true. Princeton has a much bigger global recognition that Chicago and Penn. Columbia has a slightly stronger reputation and name recognition ( not much) than Penn and Chicago but all three are definitely lower than Princeton and Penn and Chicago are on the same level for global reputation. Also Chicago is not a top 3 college, not a top 5 college.

    Also do you really think Booth is better than Wharton? The holy trinity of business schools in H/S/W everyone knows that. In business circles there is really not competition for which is considered superior. Just because Booth has been ranked by USNews higher for a year does not mean much. That said Booth has been doing very well lately. I do agree than Chicago law school is a notch up from Penn ( but still it is not on the level of H/Y/S/C).

    Also Penn is most known for its professional schools but it does not only have top professional grad schools. It is ranked top 10 in quite a few social sciences, humanities, ranked higher than Chicago in English, Sociology, Computer Science and in many other areas ranked only one or two spots lower than Chicago on UsNews ( say for sociology, biology, chemistry, statistics).

    Also Stanford has fewer Nobel prize winds than Chicago and Columbia. So you think Chicago and Columbia are considered superior to Stanford? Not at all.
  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 1,999 Senior Member
    @Much2learn I think HYPSM still comes on top when considering both grad and undergrad. Princeton still has some very strong grad programs. When looking purely in grad school I would expect this to change.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 2,259 Senior Member
    UC Berkeley is in top 4 in world class rankings
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 903 Member
    Yes. But undergraduate is a disaster.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 52,143 Senior Member
    A disaster? On what are you basing that comment?
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,392 Senior Member

    @Penn95 "I think HYPSM still comes on top when considering both grad and undergrad. Princeton still has some very strong grad programs. When looking purely in grad school I would expect this to change."

    I agree with that. When Princeton offers a grad program, it tends to be very highly rated. So I would rate Princeton higher at what they do.

    However, I am struggling with when I look at @chrchill s definition: "I think there is no doubt that "all in" (graduate departments, professional graduate schools, undergraduate prestige, global reputation and breadth of academic offerings and graduate schools)"

    How do you account for "breadth of academic programs and graduate schools?" Penn and Columbia have a breadth of high quality programs that Princeton, Yale and Chicago can't match. It is true that many are more professionally focused, like Veterinary School, Dental School, Engineering School, Education School, Nursing School, but that is a lot of breadth of important subject areas where Penn is offering high quality programs that the others are not even covering.

    I think I feel a bit defensive about Penn because many people seem to have the idea that because Penn tends to be more hands-on practical, the students are somehow not as intelligent. In reality the academics are also very strong, and the projects and experiences are an additional expectation, and not a substitute for book learning. As an avid reader, and printer, Ben Franklin understood the importance of combining bookish academics with real world experience in becoming educated. He established Penn as place where both were expected, even though it was long considered low class to go out and physically do things.
  • 85bears4685bears46 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    @blossom If I can upvote #72 ten times, I would gladly do so.

    Each school (business, medical, law or graduate) has its own strength in individual specialty. It is very important to know what each school is famous for. Harvard Business School arguably is the best business school in the world with its illustrious alumni list. But if I want to study quantitative finance and want to get a job at Renaissance Technologies, HBS may not be my optimal choice..
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 903 Member
    Oversubscribed classes. Huge class size. No contact with professors. Scarce on campus housing.
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 903 Member
    @85bears46. The speciality differentiation is a lot more pronounced among business schools than law schools. There is a clear top five law school group. Yale -- the top law school -- is the only one that really is markedly different in emphasis and graduate deployment. While there are some differences between Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and Columbia, especially in culture, they are very similar. Graduates from all five schools do exceptionally well.
This discussion has been closed.