Tag Archives: us news and world report

The Myth of the Little Three: Are College Rankings Killing Wesleyan’s Culture?


Do you ever get the feeling Wesleyan is having a little bit of an identity crisis?

There’s a good chance that my ‘ideal’ Wesleyan doesn’t look exactly the same as yours; our concerns and tastes are different, as are our experiences here. But it is likely that the things you love most about Wesleyan are unique to it, are not quantifiable, and are not things that are in step with success as defined by any rankings algorithm. I’m serious about Wesleyan dropping out of college rankings like US News. Reed College president Colin Diver explains in a 2005 Atlantic article that “one-size-fits-all ranking schemes undermine the institutional diversity that characterizes American higher education…(as) The urge to improve one’s ranking creates an irresistible pressure toward homogeneity, and schools that… strive to be different are almost inevitably penalized.” In my opinion, Wesleyan students have been struggling against that subtle pressure in different ways for years now. 

Rankings Once Again Arbitrary, Wes Once Again #17

If you don't get it, google "recursion." If you still don't get it, email The Argus at argus@wes.

For further redundancy, incredible sarcasm and unrelenting disgust has been clogging up the tubes around campus.

That’s right folks, it’s that time of year again: US News and World Report has released its infamous college rankings list and put Wesleyan at #17 on the National Liberal Arts College list, tied with Grinnell College of Iowa and the United States Military Academy (West Point) of West Point, New York. In a demonstration of recursive redundancy, this ranking is exactly where we ranked last year. In a demonstration of arbitrary analysis–this is US News we’re talking about here–the publication stated the following blurb to describe Wesleyan (reproduced in full from the rankings listing):

Wesleyan University is located in Middletown, Conn., overlooking the Connecticut River. The private institution’s sports teams compete in the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, as well as in the unofficial Little Three athletic conference with Amherst College and Williams College.

Wes ranks #12 in U.S. News Liberal Arts Colleges

They keep on comin’.  In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been flooded with college rankings coming out.  They mean so little yet so much.  The Princeton Review and Forbes might have their rankings, but the most popular ones, from the U.S. News and World Report have arrived.

U.S. News and World Report Wesleyan 2010

We come in 12th, tied with Vassar, in the Liberal Arts Rankings.  The U.S. News & World Report rankings reflect more recent admissions statistics than Forbes used, such as our acceptance rate being 22% (that’s us 2013).  We ranked #13 last year in the 2010 rankings, going up a spot this year.  Read the page about Wesleyan there to see what they made of us and our several “sororities on campus.”  It’s quite a unique portrayal of student life at Wesleyan.

U.S. News & World Report Liberal Arts best Value Wesleyan

On the list of Best Values for Liberal Arts Colleges we ranked #20, with almost 15% more students at #1 value Amherst receiving need-based aid.  The average discount from total cost at Amherst was also almost 15% higher than at Wes.

Best Alternative Media Outlet Results

U.S. News and World Report’s Best Alternative Media Outlet contest is over, here are the results.

Wesleying came in third at 11.75% of the vote, to Penn State’s Onward State‘s 24.58% and Yale’s Timothy Dwight‘s 19.05%. We barely edged out Middlebury’s MiddBlog (10.3%), but pulled comfortably ahead of IvyGate, Columbia’s Bwog, Berkeley’s The Daily Clog, Mads Vassar, Gerogetown’s Saxa Speak, and Wisconsin’s Critical Badger.

Not bad, considering that Penn State is gigantic and Timothy Dwight seems to have an endearingly (if incongruously) passionate fanbase. And besides, more than a few of the competing blogs were inspired by Wesleying to begin with.

But this might have been a deciding factor: no Wesleying blogger was committed enough to this thing to whore ourselves out as Green Man from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as Mark from Onward State has promised as a concession for winning. Awesome:

Another Year, Another Ranking Fluctuation

Ok this is clearly the high time of year for college ranking services. U.S. News and World Report is out with the 2009 edition of their big “Best Colleges” list, and once again, Wesleyan has dropped in rank on the list of Best Liberal Arts Colleges, this time from #11 to #13, where it is sandwiched uncomfortably between Vassar and Grinnell.

What does this mean? Not a whole lot, unless you really find it meaningful to scrutinize schools based on minute differences in statistics that fluctuate all the time anyway. Besides, you’re certainly allowed some choice in which college ranking list you attach your self-esteem to.

Get the full list here.

U.S. News & World Report: Liberal Arts Rankings – Best Colleges

U.S. News and World Report poll update

Amid swirling rumors of Wesleyan students rigging the election in our favor and Paper Trail editors rigging the election to make us lose, the contest for the Best Alternative Media Outlet over at the U.S. News and World Report’s Paper Trail blog drags on. And UMich’s OTR blog is in first place, after an offer to buy everyone a puppy.

While we won’t be offering you a puppy, we will offer you an update on the action:

  1. UMich’s OTR: 38%
  2. Wesleying: 30%
  3. Columbia’s Bwog: 16%

Whether the poll is rigged is still up for debate, I guess, but if you haven’t voted, we’d still appreciate a click. Because really, how many of those puppies are going to end up in good homes?

It’s election time! Vote for us for Best Alternative Media Outlet

Is it tacky to make a post on a blog, telling its readers to vote for that blog? Well, if so, too bad.

A “Brian” tips in at the Wesleying Shoutbox that it’s time for the second annual “Best Alternative Media Outlet” award by US News and World Report. Wesleying won last year, but at the time of writing, Wesleying only has 3% of the vote this time around!

Columbia’s “Bwog” is at 35% and U. Michigan’s “College: On the Record” (OTR) has 50%. We all know Wesleying probably really is the best student blog (and college alternative media outlet) out there, so get to it!

Click here to vote.

Edit: we’re up a little, but not by much. We can still be the comeback blog…
2nd Edit: 33%! neck and neck with UMich, the giant 25,000+ undergrads Goliath.

Xue adds: Holly pointed out to me earlier that IvyGate is also in the running this year. Which means little old Wesleying, the product of a 3am brainfart in August 2007, is up against every single Ivy League blogamathing in the tubes. In the words of the great Independent Ivy backlash: