Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ah, Academe

It must be almost fall on campus: the grounds crews here at Carleton are sprucing everything up, the sports teams are back and practicing, and the college guides are hitting the bookshelves.

The big one, America's Best Colleges from US News & World Report, came out on Monday, and though everyone says they don't care about the rankings, that the ranking methodology stinks, that rankings are meaningless, etc. etc., everyone here at Carleton got an email last week - before the magazine was even for sale - bragging about Carleton's ranking in the national liberal arts college list. Being the quiet, unassuming type, I won't state that number, though it rhymes with "hive." And far be it from my to libel other schools, but c'mon: who couldn't rank number #1, 2, 3, or 4 with a billion-dollar endowment?

And but so, the Best 366 Colleges, from the Princeton Review, just came out, too. This guide provides a more nuanced or idiosyncratic look at colleges, one which never fails to be interesting. Here are the takes on my current employer and my undergrad alma mater:

Carleton College
#13 School Runs Like Butter (quality of administration) (#1: Princeton University)
#18 Their Students Never Stop Studying (#1: Reed College)
#11 Best College Radio Station (#1: St. Bonaventure University)
#13 Everyone Plays Intramural Sports (#1: University of Notre Dame)

Macalester College
#13 Diverse Student Population (#1: Temple U.)
#1 Gay Community Accepted (#1!)
#5 Lots of Race/Class Interaction (#1: Wesleyan College)
#15 Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis (#1: Lewis & Clark College - this whole category owned by liberal arts colleges)
#3 Most Politically Active (#1: The George Washington University)
#13 Students Most Nostalgic For Bill Clinton (#1: Warren Wilson College - who?)
#19 Best Campus Food (#1: Virginia Tech)
#1 Best Quality of Life (#1!)
#19 Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians (#1: Hampshire College)
#9 Great College Towns (#1: Eugene Lang College--The New School for Liberal Arts - duh, it's in Manhattan)

I'd be interested in seeing what readers' searches turn up for their schools. (You have to register to search, but it's a painless registration process and searching is easy.)