U.S. News and World Report’s annual undergraduate college and university rankings for 2010 just came out. Shocker, Harvard and Princeton top the list.
The University of Chicago tied for eighth with Columbia University in New York. Northwestern came in 12th, and UIUC tied for 39th with UW Madison (the schools are tied for ninth among public universities).
To mix things up a bit, this year the magazine took a “road trip” and wrote about four Chicago universities in 500 words or less. They scoped out the “geeks” at IIT, the community service culture at DePaul, the brainpower at UIC and the school spirit at Northwestern. How well did they do summing up your school? And what's up with snubbing Loyola, UChicago, Columbia, Roosevelt and all the other institutions?
The U.S. News rankings have plenty of critics. They do a poor job of gauging what students actually learn and how rigorous each college’s curriculum is, critics say. And there has been recent controversy about colleges gaming the rankings by marking themselves highly and others very low on assessment surveys U.S. News sends out to thousands of university administrators. The Chronicle of Higher Education has some context on the rankings.
There are also questions about how accurate the data is. My alma mater, for example, is listed as an “urban” campus. That’s news to me, since the 30,000-person town of Walla Walla, Wash., is four hours from any big city.