Tag: college rankings

Maryland Schools Are Good at Partying, Not Partying, Being Pretty, and Being Ugly

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The Princeton Review released its annual college rankings yesterday, and while the academic lists are more important, it’s those Biggest Party School rankings that everyone really likes to read. Below are a few Maryland-centric highlights from this year’s list:

UMBC is One of the Nation’s Most Underrated Schools

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Hooray (once again!) for the University of Maryland Baltimore County, a school that just keeps racking up the accolades from the national press. This time, the praise comes from Business Insider, which just named UMBC the seventh-most underrated college in America.

The College Ranking We Can’t Bring Ourselves to Care About

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There are college rankings for everything these days, from the ridiculous (the college students who have the most sex) to the useful (who has the graduates with the highest starting salaries). And then every now and then there’s a college ranking that’s just kind of… meh.

Are College Rankings Ever Useful?

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Are college rankings ever useful?

Students, parents, experts, columnists, and humble bloggers have been saying it for a while now:  college rankings are dangerous. They encourage colleges to take questionable actions to juke their stats; they make already-stressed high school students even more competitive and anxious; and they don’t even really mean very much.

The 3rd Best Dorm Rooms in the Country, and Other Fun Facts from the Princeton Review’s New Rankings

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The Princeton Review‘s list of the nation’s top colleges is kind of a bummer. The more I read about colleges manipulating (or outright cheating!) their way up the list, the more I view the whole enterprise with suspicion. But the other lists — you know, best food/best dorms/hottest students — well, those are still a guilty pleasure. Here’s how local schools measured up on the frivolous part:

U.S. News Tweaks Its College Rankings Methods

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The U.S. News & World Report found itself in the middle of various controversies over colleges submitting fudged — or just outright false — data over the past year, but rather than engaging in any soul-searching about how our national obsession with college rankings has maybe gone a teeny bit too far, the publication has decided to go the other way. They’re collecting even more data for the 2013 rankings.

More Schools Skew Rankings with False Data

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More colleges give false data to US News rankings

Okay, this is starting to look like an epidemic. Two more schools have been caught reporting incorrect data to the U.S. News & World Report, after California’s Claremont McKenna got in trouble for similar fraudulence earlier this year.

The College Ranking Season Has Begun!

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Every list has its own spin, from US News’ complicated overall rankings to sillier “best cafeteria” lists. Kiplinger’s particular specialty is assessing various public colleges and universities in terms of value — that is, good schools for not-too-much money. And with five colleges ranking in the 100-long list, Maryland’s not a shabby state to pay your taxes in, if you’re hoping for quality tuition at in-state prices.

Kiplinger’s declared the University of Maryland, College Park the eighth-best value in the nation.  Other schools making the cut included Towson University (#76), Salisbury University (#71), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (#42) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (#84).  (All those rankings are for in-state students; for everyone else, the rankings were 10, 81, 53, 35, and 63, respectively.)

And though Maryland has a lot to be proud of in this list, we’re still facing heavy competition from our neighbors to the south.  Virginia had two schools in the top five (UVA and William and Mary), and seven schools in the top 100. The top-value college in the U.S.? The University of North Carolina. Hard to argue with that.

New College Rankings: Who’s Cheapest, Rowdiest, Easiest

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U.S. News and World Report releases its annual “Best Colleges” report in a couple weeks, but Newsweek/The Daily Beast is trying to trump them (and perhaps capture a slice of the apparently insatiable appetite for college rankings) by issuing its own set of lists this week.

But don’t check them out expecting to get an idea of which schools have the top academic reputation. Instead, the site claims to know whose students are the horniest (Wesleyan), what school is the cheapest (Berea College), who gets the best food (St. Olaf College), and where future CEOs and activists matriculate (Harvard and Swarthmore, respectively).

One nice thing about these lists is that less-well known schools feature prominently. Schools making the top-20 list for free-spirited students include College of the Atlantic, New Saint Andrews College, and Soka University of America, all of which were unfamiliar to me. One less-nice thing is that the rankings themselves seem at times, well, dumb. Does Johns Hopkins really belong on the list of “least rigorous” institutions? Have you ever visited the school’s library during finals week?! Kids literally camp out at their library carrels. I wish I were kidding.  Also on the list:  Berkeley, UNC-Chapel Hill, and other universities that I highly doubt are walks in the park.

Results this misguided may have come about because the methodology includes data from RateMyProfessors.com, not the most reputable source in the world. Also the idea that freshman retention is a measure of relative ease or difficulty seems suspect.

I imagine Newsweek’ll be hearing from some wound-up Blue Jays in the coming days. After all, the school year is just beginning, so students still have a teensy bit of free time with which to correct mistaken assumptions about their school of choice.

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