August marks the beginning of the annual cascade of college rankings. The Monthly’s come out next month but in the last two weeks we’ve also seen the release of rankings by the Princeton Review and Forbes. They are rather questionable rankings since, as Ivy Gate’s Wilfred Chan points out:
Princeton Review’s rankings… use the highly accurate method of spamming students with long and boring internet surveys and then hoping that they respond. Forbes… [has] stepped up the science by basing 17.5 percent of their scores on random reviews on RateMyProfessors.com.
Princeton Review doesn’t actually rank schools in general, it only ranks schools by categories, sort of dumb ones like Best College Radio Station, Students Study the Most, and Easiest Campus to Get Around. Princeton University, for instance, ranks 13th in the nation in the category School Runs Like Butter. Seriously, what?
The University of Pennsylvania did not win any Princeton Review awards at all this year. Penn no doubt runs like some other spread or a condiment.
Under the Forbes ranking system Princeton ranks number two in the nation (directly after Williams and before West Point) and Penn ranks number 52 (between Cornell and Vanderbilt).