College/Uni Rankings
October 31, 2006 3:25 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone publish a ranking list that combines colleges and universities? I'm interested in seeing how Columbia might stack up (academically) against, I don't know, say, Haverford.

I fully understand the (prominent) role played by a school's endowment in determining its position on the US News list. Nevertheless, I'm still curious to know if there's a combined one available.
posted by anonymous78 to Education (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There isn't, to my knowledge. In addition, it's pretty pointless. The "rankings" are in no way representative of the quality of education one receives at a given institution. My completely unscientific opinion is that you'll get a much better education and environment in a liberal arts college. YMMV.
posted by The Michael The at 3:42 PM on October 31, 2006

If you were asking because you were looking for an undergrad institution to attend, The Michael The is right that these rankings will not tell you which place gives you a better education. But from your profile it looks like that's not why you're asking.

There are different ways to rank. Size of endowment; research productivity of faculty; percentage of students accepted to prestigious post-college programs; percentage of students in entering class who actually graduate; percentage of undergraduate teaching done by tenure-track faculty, or by people with PhDs; etc etc. You may be able to get those numbers from a US News type ranking and compare along whatever dimension is relevant for your interests.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:51 PM on October 31, 2006

If you're interested in endowments vs. rankings, I found this and this.
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:53 PM on October 31, 2006

err... and this.
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:53 PM on October 31, 2006

I only attended Haverford, so I can't speak for Columbia, but I found the academics to be both rigorous and amazingly open-ended and flexible. I think comparing a small liberal arts school to a big university is tricky because you have to factor in the huge resources available at a Harvard or Columbia. But you also have to consider the 11-person classes of an Amherst or a Williams. While they both have advantages, you better be planning on using the hell out of those big school resources to make up for the lack of small school attention. At least that's my opinion. Go Black Squirrels!
posted by pokeydonut at 4:01 PM on October 31, 2006

I think it really depends on what your purpose is for seeking such a list. If you're trying to figure out where to go to college, that's different than if you're looking to compare scholarly reputations, or impact on the world, or whatever.
posted by raf at 4:29 PM on October 31, 2006

U.S. News and World Report publishes an annual ranking list that combines universities and colleges -- then breaks them down by size, etc. For better or worse, it's the most quoted list I know of.
posted by turducken at 5:45 PM on October 31, 2006

Turducken: You're mistaken. The USN&WR rankings do not combine liberal arts colleges with universities. They are separate.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:03 PM on October 31, 2006

you'll get a much better education and environment in a liberal arts college

If you're studying something they teach... (in which case you should reconsider!)
posted by phrontist at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2006

phrontist, your comment is perplexing. Good liberal arts colleges teach most subjects that are accessible to undergraduates. They don't teach graduate-level courses in most subjects; they don't teach courses that require specialized equipment like supercolliders; most of them don't teach "vocational" courses like engineering or animal husbandry. But they offer a much better level of attention from professors than universities can, which means more support, more tailored teaching, more opportunities to work closely with a professor on a research project. The student communities are often better (though less diverse because smaller).
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:35 PM on October 31, 2006

phrontist, your comment is perplexing.

Not to me. Lots of my friends transferred from smaller liberal arts colleges to our current university because subjects they wanted to study (Cognitive Neuroscience, Modern Culture and Media) were not offered at their smaller and otherwise excellent schools (Reed, Amherst).
posted by puffin at 4:40 AM on November 1, 2006

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