Blah blah blah college rankings 2012 blah blah blah US News and World Report blah blah ranked number twelve (same slot as last year) on National Liberal Arts College Rankings blah blah CollegeConfidential freakin’ the fuck out blah blah we’re tied with Washington & Lee blah Wesleyan retained its spot even though admission rate for class of ’15 edged up a bit. Humph humph humph we beat Vassar GO WES!
Do these silly rankings have any use at all? Well, yeah: click into the “Rankings Data” view, cast a critical eye, and go nuts. Check out our 2012 tuition figure (on second thought, don’t), our total enrollment (far larger than most of the list, but hey, we’re a university), and fall 2010 acceptance rate (21%: more selective than Vassar or Hamilton, less still than Bowdoin or Middlebury). Our freshman retention rate (96%) remains a point below most of our deepest rivals, but our six-year graduation rate (94%) puts us up near the top. And do as the New York Times‘ “The Choice” blog says (hi, Jacques Steinberg, how you been!?) and “forget who’s no. 1 and who’s no. 138.” Just, you know. Play the field:
I hope students can avoid the obvious temptation to use the U.S. News list as a template for where to apply, following its rank order, and to resist drawing conclusions about an institution’s complex academic offerings (to say nothing of all the other ingredients that go into making a university a great fit for a particular applicant) based on where U.S. News handicaps that college. I realize this is sometimes easier said than done.
If you’re wondering, Reed College—one of the most academically rigorous schools in the nation, one of the biggest producers of future Ph.Ds, and perhaps the firmest USNWR opponent—dropped down to 57 on the Liberal Arts College ranking. Go Reed!