Forbes Ranks Wes #9 and People Are Flipping Shit

olinI was enjoying a beautiful summer day, when my phone started BLOWING UP with WesKids talking about college rankings. I was expecting the usual “college rankings are ways of implementing oppressive and othering hierarchies that fuel this neoliberal corporate educational machine-industrial-complex-thing.” But I was wrong.

Forbes, the magazine of the people, has ranked Wesleyan #9 out of 660 US colleges and universities. This is our highest ranking on the Forbes list ever, which is naturally causing a social media stir:

The Forbes ranking system is a newer ranking system that counters similar listings by Princeton Review and US News and World Report. The Forbes list is based on a metric for ROI (or return on investment), which supposedly takes into account not just the usual matriculation stats (like how many people come back after frosh year and how many people are graduating in 4 years), but also things like student satisfaction rates, successful alumni, postgrad debt loads, et cetera. The list also groups both large research universities like Yale, Inc. and small liberal arts colleges like Wellesleyan together in the same list.

Here at Wesleying, we have done a lot of reporting on Wes’s place in these ranking schemes. Like a lot. And the general feel at Wesleyan is that these rankings are arbitrary, and generally don’t capture any of the more juicy elements that make up a campus culture and a college experience. It is also my feeling that the Forbes list’s focus on ROI grossly simplifies the mosaic of backgrounds of soon-to-be college students. Wes has also faltered in US News rankings because of things like our endowment.

Idk, maybe we should pull a Reed College and just check out from all college ranking games. Or maybe I should be less angsty and frolic in Wes’s newfound name recognition. Anyway, here’s a list of schools you can tell your Grandma that we outranked:

  • #11 University of Pennsylvania, whose 2016 commencement address feat. Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 has more views than his Wesleyan one
  • #12 Amherst, who we play in sports a lot
  • #15 Northwestern, who has cooler famous alumni than us
  • #17 Dartmouth College lol
  • #29 Cornell lol x2
  • #43 Oberlin College, who has more ‘Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians’ than Wes
  • #50 Hamilton College, our fellow NESCAC school that was named after the hit show on Broadway written and directed by Wes alums

Now, here’s to trying to top the horniest colleges list again.

  • Sarah ’14

    I’m wondering if their metrics control for students’ prior class background. Wesleyan’s student body has gotten wealthier post-need blind, though I imagine we may not see the full affects of this in alumni earnings for a few years yet.

    • alum

      The difference is actually fairly negligible. The % of students on fianncial aid actually went UP for the class of 2019 (first class admitted under need-aware).
      There wasn’t a dramatic shift in the wealth of the student body, if one at all.