NewsBeast Releases Dozens of Arbitrary College Rankings

Just when you were thinking, “You know what I could use? MORE COLLEGE RANKINGS” — Tina Brown popped out from behind a corner and happily obliged. (And then some.)

Of course, that’s not what I was thinking. What I was actually thinking was, “I swear to God, if I have to read even one more set of college rankings–” And then I stopped thinking mid-sentence, in order to sort through the 437 sets of college rankings released by Newsweek and the Daily Beast yesterday morning, as part of their annual paean to the higher-education bubble.

Ire aside, the exercise was valuable insofar as I learned about all the ways our fair Ivies will (and won’t) be marketing themselves over the next year. Here’s what I discovered:

  • However badly Brown students wish their school wasn’t typecast in the role of “Hippy-Dippy Ivy,” that reputation has long since been written in stone, so they’re just going to have to deal. Consider that Brown was the only Ivy not to rank in the “Future CEOs” list, while at the same time performing admirably in the “For Activists” and “Greenest” categories. Go tend to your compost pile, nerds.
  • Columbia, meanwhile, managed to appear in only the most boring of NewsBeast lists — “Rigorous,” “Accessible Professors,” “Future CEOs,” blah blah blah, whatever — even though it’s situated in the most exciting city in the Ivy League. So, good job, I guess.
  • Cornell was the only Ivy to register as a “Party School” — an image the university is doing everything in its power to dispel — and one of just two (along with Penn) not considered to be “For Brainiacs.” At least they can look forward to those Big Red toga parties!
  • Faraway Dartmouth was given the #12 spot in the “For Activists” category — which is, to be honest, a little bit perplexing. What on earth would Dartmouth be advocating for, anyway? You almost have to imagine that it’s something like “states’ rights” or “clubbing seal cubs.”
  • Joy! Harvard students are the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest of the bunch. They don’t, however, appear on the list of “Horniest” college students. Based on that, and applying just a tiny bit of hyperbole, we’re going to conclude that the Cantabs are actually nothing more than an advanced race of sexless, cybernetic automatons, engineered in a Harvard laboratory with a secret algorithm for success. (Which makes sense.)
  • And then there was Penn, the walking contradiction of the bunch. Based on the NewsBeast rankings, we’re left to hypothesize that Penn is in the throes of a brutal civil war between a well-funded corps of Geeky Future CEOs on the one hand, and a disjointed collective of Sex-Crazed Eco-Activists on the other. Basically, Penn is “Avatar.”
  • Princeton is the only Ivy with a good ROI, apparently.
  • And Yale is mostly like Harvard — but obsessed with having as much weird, inappropriate sex as possible. Though it’s not like that’s ever gotten them into trouble, or anything.

Finally, none of the Ivies were mentioned in the following categories: “Most Athletic,” “Most Beautiful,” “Service-Oriented,” “Cheapest,” and “Best Weather.” This is presumably because the Ivy League is made-up entirely of feeble-bodied, slovenly, self-centered, terminally indebted, seasonally affected, future CEOs. (Except, in the case of Brown, they’re future community gardeners, or whatever.)

After the jump, a school-by-school breakdown of the results. (You can find all of the lists, in all of their glory, on the Daily Beast website.) Read the rest of this entry »

Overachieving Koreans Have No Life But Excel at Ivy Admissions

At certain moments in my month-long stay in Seoul, say when I was navigating about its immaculately clean subway system or gorging myself on endless supplies of Korean short ribs, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t have been half bad if I had been born and raised there. But then I’d watch my seven-year-old cousin race off to his test-prep center after class every day, see uniformed high-schoolers trudge back to their apartments past midnight, and I’d silently thank my parents for immigrating to America.

Given the madness I observed in Korea firsthand, I was hardly surprised to see Newsweek write an article on two of Korea’s top high schools, focusing particularly on their success at sending students to elite colleges in America. At Minjok Leadership Academy, for example, 25 of its 77 graduates who applied to American colleges were accepted to Ivy League schools. Daewon Foreign Language High School, which is similarly competitive, had 36 students get into the Ivy League last year.

All of this has its price – assuming, of course, that one manages to do well enough in middle school to get in:

Typically, students study well past midnight, sleeping four to five hours a night. The coed Korean schools also have tough rules on dating and other behaviors deemed distracting. Hand-holding is banned.

More insanity after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »