July 21, 2009

We're #1!

Not a good couple of days for Harvard. The Vanity Fair piece, the racial profiling–tastic arrest of a prominent African-American professor within his own home, and now, a new set of college rankings puts the university at a shameful #2.Which school topped Harvard? The U of C, of course.College Crunch, a site geared toward helping high school students with their arduous colleges searches, laid out the top 10 colleges and universities as follows:1. University of Chicago (2009 U.S. News & World Report ranking: 8)2. Harvard University (U.S. News ranking: 1)3. Yale University (U.S. News ranking: 3)4. Princeton University (U.S. News ranking: 2)5. Amherst College (U.S. News ranking: 1, among liberal arts colleges)6. Stanford University (U.S. News ranking: 4)7. Brown University (U.S. News ranking: 16)8. Cornell University (U.S. News ranking: 14)9. University of Pennsylvania (U.S. News ranking: 6)10. Columbia University (U.S. News ranking: 8)To be fair, there's no shortage of ways to rank colleges and universities or organizations eager to do so according to their own algorithms, something that College Crunch acknowledges. But the site claims to do it best, using many of the traditional standards of measurement - "technology infrastructure, a diverse teacher and student body, and opportunities for self-directed research" - while leaning away from things like average GPA and the faculty's volume of published works that the list-makers deemed unimportant. The findings were calibrated with information from other known rankings lists - including, no doubt, the U.S. News & World Report. Ultimately, says College Crunch, the list should show which schools "enable a student to learn and thrive."The list doesn't go too much into why it thinks the U of C is the best of the best - I'm sorry, thrive in six months of winter? - but at the end of the day, that doesn't really matter. We beat Harvard.