Why Alexandre and Slipper will never agree.

<p>I think we've all learned a lot about the advantages of large universities by reading Alexandre's account of his years at Michigan. And Slipper makes an equally compelling case for the advantages of a small university/LAC.</p>

<p>I think the reason they will never agree on just about anything is that they use adjectives to describe their alma maters. Dartmouth is the BETTER school. Michigan is as GOOD as Dartmouth. Etc.</p>

<p>I have found that when debating complex things like colleges, cars, cities to live in, etc. it's much more useful to use verbal forms.</p>

<p>No use debating whether Paris Hilton or Condi Rice would be a BETTER girlfriend. But it IS useful to say something like "Paris would be the one I'd prefer to go bar hopping with in Vegas." Or, "Condi would be the one I'd prefer to be with on a stroll around Moscow" (she speaks Russian and knows Russian culture).</p>

<p>Likewise no use in debating whether a Land Rover is BETTER than a Ferrarri. Useful to say something like "If I were driving across Africa, I'd rather drive a Land Rover." Or, If I was zipping across Europe, a Ferrarri would be preferable."</p>

<p>So with colleges, it would be useful to say something like: "If I wanted to indulge in huge football weekends, attend an endless variety of classes, and an roam a lively college town, Michigan would be a better choice than Dartmouth." Or, "To get to know a small number of students and profs in a remote setting, Dartmouth would be better than Michigan."</p>

<p>Good post, but Id take paris hilton over rice any day.</p>

<p>I think those are excellent points and it's not just between Alex and Slipper. Too many people use phrases like "Good School," which is the least helpful description. I mean, what is a "good" school? A school that isn't evil?</p>

<p>"I mean, what is a "good" school?"</p>

<p>-Why do you attend the University of Pennsylvania? Don't tell me it's all about "fit".. I don't believe that for one second.</p>

<p>...uh what? I don't think you understood what I wrote.</p>

<p>Puppetz, it's not a case of which one you'd "take." It's all about the activity and location. I'm sure if were being held by Chechnian terrorists who were getting ready to emasculate you, you'd rather have Condi do the hostage negotiations. I mean what could Paris possibly offer them? Wait...let me think this one over again.</p>

<p>But Aurelius has it right...terms like "good" and "better" are pretty useless because they are just to vague for complex things like colleges.</p>

<p>“...uh what? I don't think you understood what I wrote.”</p>

<p>I think i did. But, tell me, without using those kinds of adjectives, why did you choose the school you attend? Why did you not attend a random private school in Mississippi?</p>

<p>kk19131,</p>

<p>Fit can and does include prestige and name value. But it's not solely that.</p>

<p>“kk19131,</p>

<p>Fit can and does include prestige and name value. But it's not solely that.”</p>

<p>This is what I am saying. If that’s the case, then it is an argument against what Tourguide asserted in his OP. Prestige and name value are completely subjective things, things that undoubtedly cause people to use the “BETTER” and “AS GOOD AS” arguments. Toutguide, however, asserts that:</p>

<p>“terms like "good" and "better" are pretty useless because they are just to vague for complex things like colleges.”</p>

<p>Thus it would seem to me that if one agrees with Tourguide, then he shouldn’t care much about the relative prestige of his school.</p>

<p>They won't agree because Michigan has a higher Peer Assesment Score and Dartmouth is much better at everything else not determined by the grad-biased PA score...</p>

<p>Tourguide, you're wrong Alexandre and I have rationalized our arguments to the nth degree, look at old posts. </p>

<p>Thoughtprocess is right on the money. Alexandre and I differ in what we think matters to undergrads.</p>

<p>In my opinion, Dartmouth (and Duke, Brown, Columbia, Penn) are 2-3 levels "better" than the top publics because for every relevant criteria that in my opinion matters to undergrads (endowment/ student, professor focus on undergrads, selectivity (confidence in your peers), alumni giving, recruiting, grad placement, etc) they win by a large margin in every category.</p>

<p>Yes, but Michigan gets to play Notre Dame on national TV. That'll translate into a couple of digits on the peer assessment when all the experts file the report between making coffee for the Dean or Provost and polishing their nails. :)</p>

<p>Slipper, we are not supposed to debate out respective points on this thread. This is supposed to be a a light hearted thread.</p>

<p>I've never seen Alexandre being dogmatic about "better". If anything, I think he (she?) does an excellent job in offering good alternatives in all categories of schools: large publics, mid-size universities, and small colleges.</p>

<p>The value of a forum like this is to not select schools for people who post questions. Instead, it is to offer a range of suggestions to consider, so they can begin to do their own research and their own decisions about what type of college experience is right for them.</p>

<p>In my opinion, every potential college applicant should START the process with a casual visit to to a large public, a mid-size university, and a small college -- doesn't even matter which ones -- so they can begin to get a sense of the scale of the institutions and in what environment they can envision being most comfortable.</p>

<p>I really applaud Alexandre. When asked about specific programs, the answer is always "in this category, consider XYX, in that category consider ABC..." and so forth.</p>

<p>Alexandre and slipper, eh? Add par72 into the fray. His mission will not be complete until everyone bows before the superiority that is Holy Cross. :p </p>

<p>(In all fairness, he brings attention to a school that doesn't get the attention it deserves.)</p>

<p>Personally, I think that the revealed preferences ranking is the best ranking that accounts for the differences between large universities and LAC's. </p>

<p><a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=601105%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=601105&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>You don't have to sign up to download the paper. Anyways, it's Harvard, CalTech, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Amherst, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Penn, Notre Dame, Swarthmore, Cornell, Georgetown, Rice, Williams, Duke, Virginia in the top twenty.</p>

<p>I'm not blasting Alexandre and Slipper. They are obviously 2 of the most imformative people on cc. But in recent days they've even argued about who has the better class reunions. All I'm saying is that things like mutual funds and insurance policies are the types of things that are given to accurate quantitative rankings. They have a limitied number of variables and goals, most of which are quantitative. It's my view that things like cars, colleges, houses, and especially people you are attracted to have so many variables (that's what I mean by complex), many if not most of which are not easily quantifiable. I'm always amazed by these lists published by Maxim and FHM etc. of the 100 hottest women. Often I find 91-100 more attractive than 1-10. I think a lot of the college rankings are about as reliable and useful as using the FHM or Maxim lists to decide who is better looking or sexy.</p>

<p>I just think we ought to stop and think about what can and cannot be quantitatively proven, the overall methods of argumentation, and the reliabliltiy of the various sources of evidence.</p>

<p>Revealed Preference is a great ranking. They should do an updated study.</p>

<p>I'd really like to see why Amherst is rated so much higher than Williams.</p>