Why so serious, USNWR?
Not that anyone cares, because these things don’t mean anything, and they’re all just so arbitrary, and because rankings do not even matter unless Wesleyan scores high, in which case it’s super-exciting and you can disregard all that other stuff, but…
Unfortunately, it’s just not our year. The U.S. News and World Report—which by the way, has ranked as the #1 most useless publication three years in a row in this list I keep in the top drawer of my desk—had the gall to rank the prestigious Wellesleyan College at #17, down five slots from last year (or really up, does anyone else ever think about that, because 17 is actually a greater number than 12, mathematically speaking?).
Here’s the list, but instead of focusing on why or how we dropped this year (cough overenrollment cough endowment-per-student figure), I thought instead I’d focus instead on what it means to be number 17. I didn’t get very far, so instead I thought about what it might mean to be a liberal arts college (not in like a 21st century-cost-efficient-MRoth sort of way). More like just the description at the top of the rankings, where USNWR poetically explains that “National Liberal Arts Colleges are schools like Amherst College and Middlebury College.”
This was sort of discouraging as well. I could spend time trash-talking schools that scored above us, but honestly, I’m above pointing out that Hamilton College isn’t even located in Hamilton, NY, or how Bowdoin and Tufts aren’t even need-blind (shit, is that not such a strong argument anymore?). I might include a link to whatever worthless, inane discussions are going on over at CollegeConfidential, but I refuse to step e-foot in that filthy site. Or I could ramble indefinitely about the process of writing this piece itself, like a college commencement address that begins at the blinking cursor of the evening before. Yeah, that sounds about right.