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Education

Top University Rankings for 2004 Released 701

Posted by michael
from the sells-a-lot-of-magazines dept.
jemecki writes "US News and World Report has posted their annual rankings for the top colleges and universities in America. Of particular interest to Slashdotters are the top Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering universities and the top overall engineering schools. For those that don't want to RTFA, Harvard and Princeton are the best in the country, and MIT, Stanford and Berkeley are the best in Engineering."
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Top University Rankings for 2004 Released

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  • by ih8apple (607271) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:19PM (#6768278)
    The longer I've been the workforce, the more I realize that these rankings are irrelevant except for bragging rights and being able to charge higher tuition for "prestige." I know many people who went to these great instituitions (I went to one myself) and many of them are sitting around in a dead end job boring themselves to death. Other people who went to community colleges or lower ranked schools are many of the movers and shakers of the world. There's no hard and fast rule either way regarding success and these schools. The only benefit I can see to the higher ranked schools is the networking with the elite of America who will get cushy jobs due to nepotism and that networking may pay off for you later.
  • cripes.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cali Thalen (627449) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:20PM (#6768283) Homepage
    MIT, Stanford, Berkeley...
    MIT, Stanford, Berkeley...
    MIT, Stanford, Berkeley...

    What exactly is this an ad for anyway? Oh yeah, US News' 'Premium Online Edition'

    Nothing to see here....
  • by Brahmastra (685988) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:20PM (#6768284)
    My comment is from the prespective of a graduate student. Almost all the top schools are as good as each other. Or you could end up with a shitty advisor in which case, any school would be bad. It might be counterproductive to choose a college based only overall rankings. Your field of reasearch, advisor, how much money they pay you as assistantship, they all play a role. As long as a school is in the top 10-20, they're probably about as good as each other.. Some better than others depending on your specialization
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:20PM (#6768295)
    No "Best Party School" crap. It's a crying shame that the title exists at all.

    It says a great deal about a society that values irrational consumption of alcoholic beverages as a virtue to be sought after.

    And for those of you thinking that this isn't important: how many hiring managers and HR blimps do you suppose see "Bachelor of Arts" and think "drunk every weekend?" How many of those people think a college degree matters?

    So yeah, it's important.
  • by pudge (3605) * <slashdot.pudge@net> on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:21PM (#6768300) Homepage Journal
    They have absolutely no validity [archive.org]. Ignore them. Please. [archive.org]
  • by rfischer (95276) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:26PM (#6768363)
    Did any one notice this distinction:

    Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
    (At schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's)
    (5.0 = highest)
    1. Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech. (IN) 4.4
    2. Harvey Mudd College (CA) 4.2
    3. Cooper Union (NY) 4.0

    Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
    (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate)
    1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology 4.8
    2. Stanford University (CA) 4.7
    University of California-Berkeley * 4.7

    Somehow the PhD program elevates the undergrad program?

  • by s20451 (410424) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:29PM (#6768401) Journal
    The longer I've been the workforce, the more I realize that these rankings are irrelevant except for bragging rights and being able to charge higher tuition for "prestige."

    The longer you are in the workforce, the less your formal education is relevant, anyway. Besides, it's better to think of it in terms of the intrinsic benefits rather than the extrinsic benefits. I have attended both small, unknown and big, prestigious universities, and the quality and quantity of teaching is certainly better at the bigger schools. Having said that, the difference between 1 and 2 is pretty much irrelevant compared to the difference between 1 and 500.

    The only benefit I can see to the higher ranked schools is the networking with the elite of America who will get cushy jobs due to nepotism and that networking may pay off for you later.

    Well, that's certainly relevant! I'm about to finish a graduate degree, and the job I'm about to start is basically thanks to my supervisor's networking skills. It certainly helps that my supervisor is world-renowned in his field, so an introduction from him carries a lot of weight, which you probably wouldn't find at a low-ranked university.
  • by mandalayx (674042) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:31PM (#6768431) Journal
    Somehow the PhD program elevates the undergrad program?

    I think the idea is that more postdocs mean better profs. But then maybe Harvey Mudd has some profs who are really passionate about teaching and not research...
  • by supz (77173) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:37PM (#6768516) Homepage
    Not to mention that smaller schools don't get a fair mention in any of these round ups. If the school doesn't have tens of thousands of students, they rarely show up...

    Of course I can't verify this, due to the fact that US News practically makes you pay to see how much it costs to pay to see anything more than their logo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:40PM (#6768536)
    Amen. This top 20 crap has got to stop. There is a huge inefficiency in the market for talent because so many employers keep trying to recruit from the same small number of institutions -- usually the ones of this list. And parents make their kids miserable trying to compete to get into that short list of schools.

    I've been in the NYC job market for nine years and all the academic elitists (e.g., those who will "only hire from the Ivy League") continue to distort what one would hope would be a meritocracy.
  • by rritterson (588983) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:40PM (#6768539)
    People often complain that these rankings are subjective. Yes, they are subjective, but so is an interviewer offering a job. I'd have to think that having clout in your own area (i.e. enrolled in a program that is rated highly by it's peer programs) would lead to clout in the job market too.

    That said, I hope no one uses the list to find where they are going to apply to college. Further disclaimer: I attend Berkeley. I find it outstanding and I love it. Can't beat the crazy hippies as well as the proximity to silicon valley. (Where else can you get a top quality enginnering degree, as well as intern at Apple, among other companies, in the summer, without moving)
    Lastly, Berkeley is now tied with the Farm! Moving on up. w00t!
  • by Hal-9001 (43188) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:05PM (#6768762) Homepage Journal
    From events like the ACM programming competitions, the Putnam mathematics examination, and the American Solar Challenge, I would feel confident saying that the University of Waterloo could compete with any technical school in the U.S., including MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and Berkeley.
  • by bziman (223162) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:15PM (#6768852) Homepage Journal
    Somehow the PhD program elevates the undergrad program?

    When I was applying to undergrad school, not quite ten years ago, I had to decide between two schools for my physics degree.

    One school, was relatively small and just had an undergrad program. At that school, I had the promise of much more personal attention from the professors, and I was assured that the professors were focused on teaching, not on there own research.

    The other school had a much larger program, going all the way up to a PhD. They had research going on, and lots of fun fancy equipment.

    I chose the larger program, and found that all of those advanced resources were, in fact, available to me. I took a graduate class as a sophomore in solid state physics, and got to be co-author on a real paper in the field.

    I was surrounded by people who were really interested in the field, and knew that the professors truly got it.

    So, assuming that your program doesn't completely ignore undergrads, then going to a school with a bigger program can be a very good choice. Particularly if you're headed for grad school or are interested in research. Just make sure you do your homework -- some of those big name schools are the ones that ignore undergrads.

    -brian

  • by danaedwards (691781) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:27PM (#6768964)
    You sure sound middle class to me. What do you think you are?
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:43PM (#6769079) Homepage Journal
    How can you all afford to go to university?!?

    My father's side of the family has a sort-of honor system where the dad pays always pays for the tuition of the kids. It's happened from at least the time of my great-grandfather, who paid for my grandfather and great-uncle to go to college at Tufts University. Then my grandfather paid for my dad's education, and my dad paid for mine. I've never talked to my dad about the tradition, but when I have kids I definitely want to keep the tradition going.

    Some would look at it like my family's well off, though we're not rich. I instead like to think of it as a loan across generations. I don't have to pay for my education until later in life, when I can afford it, and then I repay it through my kids.
  • MIS vs CS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by big-giant-head (148077) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:44PM (#6769089)
    In CS we started as Freshmen writing code and more code and even more code as you got higher up in the classes ie, 1000 level vs 2000 vs 3000. The mis folks in the college of business did't write hardly ANY code till they were Jr or Sr's. I always thought this was a bad idea since half of them ended up working as programers.

    I actually knew a manager that claimed he perferred MIS grads over CS grads because they produced better 'documentation'. Which is probably true, but he got his butt canned because evey project he managed went over on time and budget by a significant margin and were usually buggy as hell, but his projects were all well documented and thats what counts right????
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:54PM (#6769155)
    "although moreso now at the four year university I ultimately transferred into."

    Funny, for me, it was the opposite. After leaving a 'good' four-year (well, five, four + 1 year of internship for my program) school, I decided I might as well get an AS at least. To my eternal horror, I discovered that the instructors at the community college had something strange going for them. Most of them had worked in the field within the past decade, and thus, were able to speak reality as opposed to plain old 'book-learnin' and stuff from the days of punchcards.

    Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they sacrificed theory for practicality. On the contrary, I was taught plenty of theory. But I was shown plenty of real world examples to back that theory up. Maybe it's just me, but writing accounting applications is somehow more "fun" than programming simulated elevators. (At least you can use the accounting apps when yer done with em. ;))

    And Java, C and C++ are infinitely more useful in the real world than 'educational programming language that no one uses #29'.

    The morale of the story is, of course, pay no attention to my hillarious anecdote above, but make sure you pay attention to the following:

    Ignore your parents (save for money matters), ignore your guidance counselors, ignore the campus recruiting drones. Talk to professors who actively teach courses you will be taking. Then, believe half of what they say. Follow that up with talking to actual students in the major you're considering. Believe only half of what they say.

    Add up half of what the professors said, and half of what the students said, and you might actually manage to get a decent idea of what the school you're considering is actually like.

    If you remember only one thing when selecting a college, remember the following: They're for-profit organizations.

    "But Anonymous Coward! It says here.."

    Oh, yes, I know, education and advancement of knowledge. My ass. The private schools are after your money, and the public schools are too - because if they don't get your money, the government looks at them funny and says, "Well, it appears we don't need you. Here, have some unemployment papers to fill out."

    Like anyone else attempting to get your money, colleges will put quite a bit of marketing spin on their wonderful selves.

    Learn how to see through it. (Now there's a skill that will serve you the rest of your life.)
  • by rogueuk (245470) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:58PM (#6769189) Homepage
    After reading this, I thought "wait a minute..I just graduated from UPenn's SEAS (School of Engineering & Applied Sciences) with a BSE in CSE..it must be accredited" ...it turns out, however, that we are accredited in a bunch [upenn.edu] of engineering fields, but not computer science.

    I don't know how I missed that. Doesn't seem to matter too much in the industry as far as I know...people are still getting the jobs
  • by PhoenixFlare (319467) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:11PM (#6769279) Journal
    So just go off-campus. If memory serves, there's at least 4 other schools, including Nazareth(1:3 male:female ratio), within a fairly short driving distance.

    And even if you don't....People complain and complain about not finding females, but they usually turn out to be the ones that haven't ventured out of their room for anything but food or class the whole year.

    Trust me, if you actually leave your cave once in a while, you'd do just fine :)
  • Not exactly true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FallLine (12211) <fallline&operamail,com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:40PM (#6769496)
    While I come from a family that was able to easily afford this kind of tuition 4 kids at top flight universities, I must say that this system is not even remotely fair and it is a real burden on more middle class families (including some of my friends and peers). Sure, if your parents are working near minimum wage jobs AND you meet their academic criteria (a rare group), then the system will normally cover all your expenses. However, if you are unfortunate enough to have more successful parents who spent and saved wisely, then you WILL be penalized. It is a perverse system because it penalizes thrift and rewards spending. For instance, one of my friend's parent bought a house about 30 years ago now in Seattle, while they otherwise lived very modestly, their relatively modest house appreciated in value to roughly 700K (from the 100K or so it cost before). The schools only needed to see the house to decline any substantial financial aid. The parents couldn't realistically sell short of moving to a very different part of town (not to mention leaving their friends, house, job, etc). My friend couldn't ask her parents to sell. The end result was that she was forced to attend a state school. This is perverse because her parents worked harder than most people, were more educated, etc. Meanwhile other (less capable) peers of mine, whose parents certainly earned more money than the friend I just described, but saved little, were able to enjoy substantial financial aid without their parents having to alter their lifestyle substantially.

    I am sorry, but I tend to believe that we should reward hard work in this country. The system really damages that. The truth is these schools are WASTING a lot of money, some of the top schools are even charging more than they need to (but keep it high to keep their prestige and admissions in check), and then justifying it by saying that the financial aid system makes all right. Well, it doesn't. The system sucks for a lot of people. If you're rich, it's not too bad. If you're poor and you're fortunate enough to be admitted, then you're set (but also quite rare). I don't even consider myself much of a social crusader, but I truly consider it regressive, even if the pretense is "progressive". Those 2nd and 3rd generation families, whose families otherwise moved quickly up the social ranks hit an unnecessarily steep wall when it comes to entering the elite schools.

    Take a look at a school like Princeton some time (if that's where you're going). Almost all the students are white and upper middle class or higher and most frankly aren't that impressive academically or otherwise. Sure, most students will have a modicum of intelligence, but more importantly they know how to work the system. If you truly leveled the playing fields economically, you'd still see a large percentage coming from more affluent families (because they are most likely to have benefited from superior educations and may even be a little smarter on average), but I assure you that you'd see a lot more kids from blue collar and clerical backgrounds. This is really not a system the delivers "fairness" OR the most capable students (because it cuts out a large percentage of students, those somewhere between rich and poor).

    Real socio-economic advancement is happening, by and large, by bypassing these elite institutions entirely, by attending lesser schools (or at least less recognized ones), but nonetheless succeeding in fields that reward true hard work, skill, intelligence, and risk taking behavior (e.g., business, engineering, etc). It doesn't have to be that way and it has gotten dramatically worse over the past decade or two as tuition has climbed...

    Signed,

    A person who has little direct cause for complaint.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:46PM (#6769532)


    > Just want to remind everyone that a lot of the rankings are quite subjective

    My alma tends to crow when ranked high and dismiss the system entirely when ranked low.

    The human mind is a wonderfully flexible thing.

  • by stanwirth (621074) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:48PM (#6769547)

    The top three are basically a perpetual toss-up between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, with a different college (or pair) holding the top spot each year

    Tee hee. At Cornell, there's a running joke: "Harvard, Princeton, Yale...and perhaps Cornell." So in the school paper, you often see the word "perhaps" placed before Cornell, even when not in the context of the rankings. "A University Spokesperson Announced today that perhaps Cornell would consider the measure to..." etc.

    BTW I feel these rankings should be ignored by both prospective undergraduates and graduate students. The formula for undergrad should be first and foremost "Where can you get the best education for what your money?" -- and this means evaluating geography, what your parents are willing to help you out with, where you're going to fit in culturally, as well as whether you can afford it, and whether the faculty are there primarily to teach you.

    Sure you can go for broke at "the best" school, but if you have to work 30 hours a week to afford it, your grades are going to suffer, and if you're stuck with a bunch of snobby prep-school kids who *can* afford it, you can get blindsided by class and social issues that you simply shouldn't have to deal with. When a graduate teaching assistant at another "top" school, we were told on no uncertain terms that the University had just changed its acceptance policy from needs-blind to needs-based. In other words, if your daddy's rich, you could get in more easily with poorer grades, SATs and so forth. Specific students were pointed out to us as being ones we might need to "go easy" on, and we were instructed to, when catching students cheating on exams, to bring the case before the professor rather than busting them on the spot--it could humiliate a big donor's sweet little angel, you see. As a working-class kid who'd made good by working and paying my own way through another "top" (read: expensive) school and had suspected crap like that was going on -- I was outraged to find that it was true. But kept my mouth shut--when the going gets tough, the tough take notes. And used this anecdote as ammunition when Cornell started considering the same admissions policy.

    If you already live in a state with an excellent university system, take advantage of the fact. Your parents have been paying for it your whole life, through their taxes, so, in effect, the state university system owes you an education. If you don't, pick a state university you'd really like to go to -- UT Austin, UC Berkeley, UCLA...apply, and then defer your matriculation until after you've established residency. It might take a year or two of working and paying taxes and registering your car in that state, but it could well be an excellent investment of your time. You can get to know students, find out what programs are the most interesting to you, suss out which teachers do a good job and which ones are simply full of shit, and hopefully save up a bit of money for your studies -- and save a bundle on tuition. Hey, for a year or two of working before going to college, you can save a hundred grand in tuition over the following four years, and have more contacts in the community as well as some real-world work experience when you get out. Bonus!

    Academics will try to hit you with their snobby attitude like you've "wasted time" and come up with all sorts of lame patronising damning-with-faint praise excuses on your behalf why you "had to take some time off." The sooner you learn to ignore the bullshit attitudes of academics, and only accept from them what's useful to you the easier it will be for you to just get on with your education anyway. And remember. They Work For You not the other way around. They owe you competent instruction and fair grading, not a steaming pile of bullshit patronising attitudes . If they try their attitudes out on you, just classify them as insecure and not worth your time -- and mo

  • Hear hear! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:56PM (#6769590)
    I don't know how it is in EE, but in medicine, NOBODY CARES where you went to medical school.

    Unless you are in academics (I was for a time), where you received your medical degree is almost meaningless. Residency location matters a little more, since that's where you actually learn your trade. However, I've met people trained at Ivy-League med schools and residencies who were absolute fools; no exaggeration.

    I was state-school all the way, and my USMLE and board scores were top 15% across the board... you get out of your education EXACTLY what you put into it. If you slack at an Ivy-League school, no amount of flashing around that fancy sheepskin is going to cover up the fact that you're a dolt. Also, you can be a brilliant doctor, and be as terrible as you are brilliant if you don't learn to deal with people. Nobody likes an asshole, no matter how good a doctor he's supposed to be, since medicine is far more than the mechanics (this may not be true for some surgeons. Given the choice between a prick/skilled surgeon and a nice/mediocre one, I'll take the first guy, since most of my interaction with him is while I'm unconscious. I want him for his hands, not his personality, and if he were enough of an ass, I'd tell him exactly that!)

    We had guys in my medical school class who were bottom 20% in the class, and they ended up becoming GREAT doctors... the ones I would personally go to if I had a problem. One guy who went into psychiatry was dead last in the class, and went on to become an academic superstar, and professor at a large medical school.

    Where you get your degree is far less important than who you are, including your personal work ethic, experience, and general motivation.
  • by rleibman (622895) on Friday August 22, 2003 @06:45PM (#6769908) Homepage
    Of all the things that cost money, there is only one thing that you can give to your children that will last them a lifetime: Education. Everything else can be lost, stolen, taken by the government, etc.

    My parents had a simple rule, they would keep on paying for our education for as long as we continued to go. I plan to do the same for my children. I'd rather go hungry than prevent my kids for going to the schools they want.
  • Re:"Overpriced?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:24PM (#6770385) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that in my experience, colleges have typically been increasing their per student spending by _twice_ that of inflation for maybe thirty years. Caltech spent nearly $200,000 per student per year? What the HELL are they spending it on?! That has to be enough for nearly three personal tutors from your high-earn industries.

    I know that a lot of stuff is expensive but then I've seen a lot of money thrown around to suit the whims of administrators and to keep the "image" up rather than focusing on education.

    You mention a CEO - does your equivalent size business include students, or not? I think that is important.
  • by sasami (158671) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:26PM (#6770393)
    Your complaints are understandable but there is a lot of misinformation on this point.

    Sure, if your parents are working near minimum wage jobs AND you meet their academic criteria (a rare group), then the system will normally cover all your expenses

    The financial aid calculation, although far from ideal, is meant to scale with need. That means even those who have quite modest incomes will have some part to pay. You need to go very low before you get a free ride.

    The median household income of financial aid recipients, as of a few years ago, was $100,000.

    This is particularly ironic since there's a persistent myth that $100,000 is a magic threshold that disqualifies you for financial aid. I've seen dozens of families throw away thousands of dollars in aid because they simply assumed it wasn't worth applying.

    My friend couldn't ask her parents to sell. The end result was that she was forced to attend a state school.

    My condolences to your friend, but this is not an uncommon situation and many schools are open and willing to work through the problem. However, it is critical to apply to 10-12 schools, not the usual 5-6, in order to get a fair spread of aid packages. There are schools that are bad with aid, but they can be weeded out if you've done your research. There is luck involved as well, and timeliness is also vitally important.

    some of the top schools are even charging more than they need to (but keep it high to keep their prestige and admissions in check)

    Please give references. I'd honestly be very interested to know. My understanding is that many elite private colleges spend more per student than they charge in tuition, often thousands more. The loss is offset by drawing on the endowment.

    --
    Dum de dum.
  • No, I don't. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FallLine (12211) <fallline&operamail,com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:35PM (#6770430)
    The business world rewards intelligence and risk-taking behavior? My Introduction to Management textbook said, "the people who get promoted often are not the best workers, but the best politicians." In my experience, it's quite often the people who exhibit "intelligence and risk taking behaviors" are the ones who are labeled "management issues" or "not a team player" or "not a Company man" and are let go. Why? They represent a threat. No, there is tremendous pressure to get along by going along at the expense of these very attributes. All too often, this meets with disastarous results.
    Yes, the business world rewards intelligence and risk taking behavior. While it is true in a short term micro-level scale that those who get promoted are sometimes (and maybe even mostly at some larger companies) not the most capable, but by and large, I would say that those that really get advanced are those that stick their necks out when it is proper. This is particularly true amongst the upper echelon. You don't get rich by being a plodder. You may NOT offend your immediate supervisor by not sticking your neck out, and thus secure your chances of a single promotion, but that mentality will never get you far (well relatively rarely). There are other ways of taking "risk" in business. For instance, by: starting your own business, choosing a different career path, working for a different company, etc. I, for instance, could have made significantly more money at a larger company for the past couple years, but I'm working at a smaller private company, that pays me less, but also gives me much greater chance to do more things, gain experience, and ultimately acquire real wealth (by allowing me to acquire options, buy stock, etc). Likewise, I've chosen to pursue an entrepreneurial career path instead of starting out in investment banking like a good many of my peers. In any event, it's called RISK for a reason, read another textbook.
  • by darkmeridian (119044) <william DOT chuang AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:53PM (#6770701) Homepage
    I hate to be blunt, but this poster makes no sense. On one hand, he blasts the system of expensive, top-flight schools, and yet says his friend was "forced" into a state school. That's like people complaining about how hot people are so shallow. And his friend, unfortunately, is rich. With over a half-million dollar in home equity, she is a firmly entrenched member of the elite he hates so much.

    The poster also assumes that poor people got that way because they are lazy, and that is not the case. Backgrounds matter. Children of immigrants might be poor, but that does mean they are lazy? Of course not. They probably have it much harder than the average Joe.

    Higher education is necessary to function in today's world. Might as well work hard, get the financial aid (which is issued for merit, too, you know?) and make money.
  • by sasami (158671) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:54PM (#6770709)
    The rankings are based on a number of objective measures also, such as yield (number attending versus number admitted), faculty salaries, etc. But it makes no difference, because they fudge [msn.com] the rankings [msn.com] every year to sell more magazines.

    Colleges don't change fast enough for USNews to sell a new issue every year unless they shake up the list themselves.

    None of the factors they include have much to do with a quality undergraduate education anyway. There is an insipid tendency to judge colleges by who they admit rather than who they produce. When it comes to assessing performance after school, graduates of small liberal arts colleges outperform graduates of large, impersonal universities in almost all fields including science and engineering.

    I do not condone using a single metric to judge a school's quality, but simply as an illustration here are the schools that produce the greatest number of PhDs, relative to their population size:

    Harvey Mudd College: 40.7%
    CalTech: 40.0%
    Reed College: 25.3%
    MIT: 20.9%
    Swarthmore College: 20.9%

    Haverford College: 18.8%
    Oberlin College: 17.8%
    New College of UFL: 16.1%
    U. of Chicago: 15.6%
    UC San Diego: 14.1%

    Amherst College: 13.7%
    Carleton College: 13.7%
    Cooper Union: 13.7%
    Pomona College: 13.7%
    Brandeis U.: 13.5%

    Wabash College: 12.9%
    Webb Institute: 12.4%
    Wesleyan U.: 12.4%
    Bryn Mawr College: 12.0%
    Princeton U.: 11.7%

    (Note, these are not the schools that granted the PhD, but where the PhD went as an undergraduate.) The rest of the list can be found in Loren Pope's excellent Looking Beyond the Ivy League. Points of interest from that complete list of 50 schools:

    - Princeton, the most undergraduate-focused of the Ivies, is the first Ivy to make this list at #20. The next is Harvard at #37.
    - Three of the Ivies plus Stanford don't even make the list.
    - Only 10 out of the 50 schools have more than 2500 students (approximate; quoting from memory here).
    - Many of these schools are much less selective than the Ivies, yet produce better graduates.

    These results are largely the same when you look at other data: MCAT scores, med/law school admission rates, NSF grants, Nobel prizes...

    Does this surprise you? It shouldn't. A university is optimized for graduate study and research. A college has no graduate school and is optimized for undergraduate education. Different tools for different jobs. This is a generalization, of course, but I hope it worries you enough to ditch US News and do some real investigation.

    --
    Dum de dum.
  • Re:Fat-Ass Loans (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:01PM (#6770734)
    All of the sweeping generalizations you make about state universities are exactly untrue at mine*. Nearly all of my professors at least know me by name and if they don't, it's because I haven't approached them. Even a little too often for my liking, they know who I am despite my best efforts. Among my worst professors are the incredibly bright and incredibly nice type who simply can't get thoughts out of their head fast enough. All of my professors though, are very much willing to go beyond the minimum requirements to help you understand the material.

    As much noise as US News makes with these ratings, what's really important is choosing the right school for your major. When I got my admissions responses back, I had cheaper options, and I had more prestigious options, but Cal Poly won out because it's the right education at the right price. (Though recent hikes are pissing me off..)

    * California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo: ranked #1 "public largely undergraduate university in the West" [calpoly.edu] for the 11th year in a row, which is a lot of hogwash. The more qualifiers you add, the less impressive that #1 becomes. But it really is a very good school, and I can't imagine where I'd rather go.
  • by edwdig (47888) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:51PM (#6771172)
    You said that after your first year, your financial aid went up because your assests had been exhausted. That's definately not the norm. I just graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in May. Every year tuition went up and my aid went down. Everyone else I talked to had the same thing happen to them.

    Towards the end of the .com boom, I got a part time coding job making decent pay. That resulted in a huge drop in my financial aid, despite the fact that almost all the money went towards covering the drop that I already had in my financial aid. I eventually got another job on campus for half the pay of my previous job, and combined with what was left of my savings, it was almost enough to cover the bills for the rest of my degree. I would've had to take out additional loans (in addition to the financial aid package loans) to cover my last semester, but family bailed me out.

    Schools are very much aware that the more credits you've taken, the less likely you are to switch schools. So they charge you progressively more as your stay there goes on.

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