Ivy League

Same Old College Rankings—What Did You Expect?

Shocking news: the new Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings say that Harvard is the best school in the United States. So does Forbes in its rankings, while US News ranks it second. Some eight schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Penn, Duke and Cal Tech) are in the top 10 in all three […]

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FDR Foundation

WHY ELITE STUDENTS GET ELITE JOBS

The conventional meritocratic recipe for success is simple enough: study hard in school, get good grades, be involved in one’s community, find an appropriate college, apply for jobs in your field of study, and everything else falls in place. But that’s not how it really works says Lauren A. Rivera, author of Pedigree: How Elite Students […]

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NOT IN AN ELITE COLLEGE? NO WORRIES!

Frank Bruni is a New York Times columnist who has figured out something important – many Americans are completely caught up in the costly, pointless, and often damaging obsession with getting their children into our supposedly elite colleges and universities.  His new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, is his effort at […]

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Harvard’s Cheating Scandal

Yesterday Harvard University announced its investigation of about 125 undergraduates who are believed to have improperly collaborated on a take-home final examination last spring. It is tempting to use this case to generalize about an Ivy League sense of entitlement, declining student morals in general, or perhaps the failure of Harvard and other universities to […]

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Star Chamber Hearings at Brown, Yale, and Cornell

The ugly episode at Brown–a botched hearing of an alleged rape case– is part of a disturbing pattern of how sexual assault procedures are handled at Ivy League schools. Typically, the schools impose a gross form of injustice, permanently damaging the reputation of the accused male, then congratulate themselves for acting so fairly and appropriately. […]

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The Politics of Campus Hazing

The war on fraternities is one of the longest-running conflicts on campus, and the most active front in that war is the current media campaign against hazing, triggered by the lurid charges of former Dartmouth student Andrew Lohse. In an op-ed in his college newspaper, The Dartmouth, and later in a long Rolling Stone article, […]

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The Days of Legacy Admissions May Be Numbered

In a recent essay in Minding the Campus, blogger John S. Rosenberg argued that I was too tough on legacy preferences and not tough enough on affirmative action in college admissions.  In my support for class-based affirmative action, he says, I’m not sufficiently outraged about racial preferences.  And in arguing that legacy preferences are illegal […]

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The Rankings Will Always be Gamed

Trying to rank hundreds, if not thousands of colleges is obviously foolish, but this foolishness has consequences beyond supplying iffy advice to clueless shoppers. To the extent that potential enrollees take ratings seriously, institutions may be tempted to game the system and these tricks may well undermine education. To use Malcolm Gladwell’s illustration from Car […]

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Malcolm Gladwell and Those Shaky Rankings

As the author of a college guide that tries to help college-going students identify schools that would be a good “match” for them as individuals, I’ve always had three main gripes with the U.S. News & World Report rankings. First, you can’t quantify the really important factors that go into selecting the right college, such […]

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Rituals Performed for the Elite

The U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s “best” colleges and universities amount to nothing more than an annual ritual, a predictable coronation of entrenched wealth and power. Even more importantly, for aspiring students and parents who hope to transcend their present class status, the yearly “guide” serves as the handmaiden to the elite. […]

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The Attack on Legacies

In every Marx Bros. movie, there occurs a moment when Harpo works himself up to a frenzy, hyperventilating, jumping up and down and crossing his eyes. These interludes never fail to beguile the viewer, even though they have nothing to do with the plot. I was reminded of these Harpovian shenanigans when I came across […]

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Not Just Another College Ranking

Forbes has issued its 3rd annual College Rankings, delivering its crown to Williams College. Comparison to the U.S. News and World Report list is inevitable so let’s not delay in getting to it; this result, and most of the top 20 rankings on the Forbes list aren’t that dissimilar from the similar U.S. News list […]

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Fixing the Anything-Goes Philosophy at Brown

Brown University is famous for having the loosest graduation requirements in the Ivy League. In fact, there are almost no graduation requirements at all, for although Brown undergrads do have to major in something in order to qualify for a degree, they are free to design their own majors. As for anything else in the […]

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A Real Freshman Reading Assignment

We’ve documented the foolishness of most “Freshmen Reading” assigments in the past. Looking through the dreck, Charlotte Allen discovered a ray of hope in Cornell’s assignment this year of Gary Wills’ Lincoln At Gettysburg. Now that the assignent is completed, what did Cornell students think? The Cornell Daily Sun reports: “I thought it was awful […]

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