The U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual college rankings. These rankings are arbitrary and asinine. They certainly don't represent the strengths and weaknesses of any given college or university. All they do is feed into the ultra-competitive world of college admissions where overworked high schoolers fight tooth-and-nails for admission into a top-10. I think that's horrible and counter-productive.
And I still let them get to me. Here's why:
86. American University.
I have my problems with AU. Any sane student would. But, dear Lord....86!? At least we've pushed ahead of the University of Alabama. Every small victory helps.
Smart people go to American University for our School of Public Affairs or our School of International Service. The administration tells us those are some of the top programs in the country. I don't really believe that, but I doubt they're just making things up. Spin is different than fiction. (I think the trick is to call it "Public Affairs" instead of "Government.")
So, why the low ranking? I'm pretty sure it has something to do with our outrageously poor math and science departments. As a friend of mine, Marc, put it:
"You'd have to be an idiot to go to AU for math or science; you can get programs that are 100 times better at most state schools for at least a third of the tuition."
Marc is exactly right. I mean, have you seen the AU Bio Labs? It looks like they were built in 1948. But those departments drag us down in these arbitrary rankings and sully my good diploma.
Anyways, for fun, let's look at the other local college rankings:
16. Johns Hopkins University
Fair enough. I mean, it's Johns Hopkins. I am not going to say anything bad about them other than that they are really good at lacrosse, the rapiest of sports.
23. Georgetown University
I was praying that Georgetown would get beaten out by the University of Virginia but, alas,
24. University of Virginia
For a Virginia resident, the cost of moving from #24 to #23 is probably around $15,000 a year.
I have a cousin getting an accelerated doctorate in sociology here. This makes me look bad at family gatherings.
31. College of William and Mary
I've been told this is an excellent school. I have also been told that William and Mary features a heavy Greek population. I don't know how those two things can coexist.
52. George Washington University
I don't really have a problem with this. I know, in my heart, that GW is a better school than AU. Of course, in the hearts and minds of GW students, the difference is far greater than the reality of the situation. A lot of GW kids are snobbier towards American students than their Georgetown counterparts. That's just silly, especially when they share the exact same inferiority complex from being less than five miles from a superior university.
54. University of Maryland
And here's where I start holding a legitimate grudge. 32 spots greater than American? Then fucking act like it you cretins. I don't care how high the average high school GPA is for their incoming classes; I have never met a UMD student who wasn't significantly dumber than me. Yes I know I'm dealing with a ridiculously small sample size of, like, nine people, but a 100% idiocy rate is still nothing to dismiss. It's not like their actions after any significant athletic achievement are going to convince me otherwise. (Blogger Irina was a UMD student who is now attending an Ivy League grad school. Therefore she's almost certainly smarter than me. But I haven't met her so it doesn't count.)
77. Virginia Tech
This absolutely blew my mind and it highlights the stupidity of these rankings. What do you go to Virginia Tech for? Agriculture? Mining? Whatever it is, it's not anything that American offers. I don't want to sound elitist or anything because tech schools are useful and all, but comparing it to schools like GW, Georgetown, UVA, and American is an exercise in futility. And then to somehow decide that VTech is better than American...stupid.
And how does this qualify as a local school in The Washington Post? I didn't even know where VTech was until some crazy dude starting shooting people a couple of days ago. It turns out, it's in middle of fucking nowhere.
88. Howard University
I don't even want to include this school on my blog the way the comment threads have been going lately. Seriously, commenters, stop with the casual racism.
120. Catholic University
Sophomore year (2002) I had this new girlfriend. And she wanted to see Rusted Root at Catholic University. I hate Rusted Root, but, as I said, new girlfriend. I would have gone to a Dave Matthews concert just for the brownie points. Anyways, Rusted Root consists of a bunch of hippies and is therefore a pro-choice band. Some of the Catholic University kids took umbrage to this and decided to wear all white at the concert to represent fetuses or something like that. Of course, they still put money in the pockets of those baby-killers to see the show. I'm sure Rusted Root had no idea why half of the kids were wearing white t-shirts. So, way to get your point across, morons. Any school that has a student population that fucking stupid deserves triple digits in the college rankings.
Not Listed: George Mason University
Man, all that basketball success was for naught.