Ranking Revisited

A few days ago I posted on the notorious U.S. News and Report rankings of colleges. Today, I got word that the Princeton Review released their “Best 361 Colleges” in a variety of categories apparently based on 115,000 student surveys. Newsweek published an article called, “25 New Ivies” saying that “the number of world class schools…has skyrocketed.” Time ran an article entitled “Who Needs Harvard?” which challenged people to “let go of old assumptions and…be pleasantly surprised by how much has changed…in the past generation.”

I like how mainstream media is catching on to the fact that there are some really outstanding unknown colleges and universities out there. I also like that there are a bunch of schools actively making a name for themselves and not letting past reputations stick. The faster we do away with generational reputations (e.g., “first-tier” schools and “second-tier” schools) and move toward niche reputations, the better the educational system will be. Reputations are not a bad thing. They help families evaluate a school. It’s only one piece of the pie, though. The problem is when that reputation is not updated often enough. I put the onus of updating both on the college to instigate actively change within schools but also on the media to inform the public about schools that are achieving new hights.

Middlebury gets a mention in the Newsweek article as “destinations of choice for students who prefer a more intimate campus” but alas is not one of the 25 “new Ivies.” Time only gives a mention to Midd’s great “split-pea soup made fresh from local ingredients.” Middlebury came in with these rankings from Princeton Review:




Professors Get High Marks


Best Overall Academic Experience For Undergraduates


School Runs Like Butter


Best Quality of Life


Best Campus Food


The Toughest to Get Into