Status Anxiety

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After weeks of breathless waiting, university administrators found out yesterday how their school fared this year on that outsized arbiter of institutional excellence, the US News and World Report college rankings. Nothing much changed, at least in the range Columbia cares about: the span between number one and number nine, where it’s been stuck for three years running.

While we’re playing with statistics, other people like putting things in order too! According to Newsweek, Columbia is about as good as it is global–we come in tenth on a list of the world’s most international universities. Columbia looks a little better in China, where Shanghai Jiao Tong University puts us at number seven in the world, and rankings for research universities done by an independent group give Columbia a preen-worthy fourth place.

Alma Mater, however, does not fare so well on the altruism index. The Washington Monthly, a left-of-center political mag, ranks schools in the categories of Community Service, Research, and Social Mobility–which shakes things up a bit. Columbia languishes at number 36 on this list, behind the likes of Alabama A&M and Ohio State (but ahead of Princeton).

The Monthly‘s choice for the school that’s best for America? MIT. Proving once again that geeks make the world a better place.

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  1. none of these mean anything

    without considering methodology. newsweek and shanghai rely heavily on academic publishing in the sciences and related awards...nothing to do with undergrad education whatsoever.

    the washington monthly rankings smell like a huge publicity stunt to shock people by rating the ivies so low.

  2. US News Tracker

    Columbia got nine in a tie with Dartmouth and UChicago. Barnard got 26th, right behind another all-girls school, Mt. Holyoke.

  3. Personally, I feel like

    Columbia is awesome.

  4. Shanghai  

    Jiao Tong University translates roughly into "Shanghai Traffic and Transportation University".

  5. ealac majors aren't good for much, but

    shanghai communications university - it's a context thing

    thanks for playing though

  6. ooh

    I think what Columbia needs in order to vault in self to the top of these lists is a new Traffic and Transportation department and major.

  7. columbia is great  

    fuck whatever the rankings said. oh, you went to harvard? quaint town i hear. throw out the categorical imperative, and everyone else is toast.

    • unfortunately

      nyu could dash our standing by the very same criterion. here lies the rub, columbians: we haven't enough space (and isolation-enforced cohesion) to provide the "typical college experience" to eager prospective undgergraduates, nor do we have the exciting immediate vicinity to provide a convincing alternative. morningside heights is both too congested and too insipid to rouse enough hearts to vault our alma mater over the top.

  8. Who cares

    Columbia is home to so many inferiority complexes. And really, just because you didn't get into Harvard...

    It's too bad you can't cruise as happily on your alma mater's prestige here, but that really doesn't matter if you know what you're doing, academically.

    Which I guess some people don't.

    I like chai.

  9. OMG


  10. basically

    the rankings are determined by selectivity. pretty worthless

    • uh, no

      if they were, columbia would be fourth. class size, endowment, and the ranking of the school given by peer provosts, deans, and academics are also considered. worthless? maybe, but not for that reason.

  11. prestige whore

    I heart college rankings.

  12. Think

    Think about how many free dicksuckings editors for the US News and World Report could get if they wanted them.

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