Analysis of Local College Rankings

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.


  1. I would assume you get go to Virgina Tech for engineering.

  2. ...and Princeton #1. Go figure.

  3. UNH #105!! YEWWWW!!! Get the beirut tables ready!





  5. Howard Univeristy is a good school. They have a well-balanced a-- OH MY GOD I'VE BEEN SHOT!

  6. Rusty,

    I have a M.A. from that AU school of public affairs. Yes, it's one of the top programs for that, but my first professor (law) advised us that many of would eventually be going to law school so keep in touch (how true that was)....

    Also, my ex-girlfriend got into UMD as an undergrad. She is practically retarded. I swear to god she got less than a 600 on her SATs (I mean, combined) and well below average on her GREs to get into GWU grad school (but just slightly less than average for other education majors!)....

    Okay, mistakes were made. I'd have to agree that you must be a rich moron to go to AU for... biology.

    It's a dog eat dog world.

  7. Mason landed in "National Universities Tier 3," which US News found so unimportant they didn't even link it from the front page. We're in such fine company as Arizona State, Bowling Green, and New Mexico Tech.


  8. What the hell? Let's try that again.

    Tier 3! Go Mason!

  9. Wahoo Wah! Though I am sad to see UVA drop down below Berkeley. When I was there, we were the #1 public university, but now I see we're tied #2 with Univ. of Michigan.

    As for VA Tech, it is known more for its engineering, agriculture and veterinary programs than anything. But I will say even some of UVA's engineering programs rank nearly as high as VA Tech.

  10. Mason also happens to be the most expensive public university in the state of VA, and it is the third most diverse university in the country. That's what I was told when I went there...

  11. These college rankings are almost 100% arbitrary. Here's an NY Times article explaining why. A person's college experience is a highly subjective thing, based on any amount of variables, and it's pretty silly to compare one school to another when they likely have different programs and philosophies.

    That said, GW really isn't any better than AU. ONCE AN EAGLE ALWAYS AN EAGLE. Yeah, I said it.


    DJ GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!

  13. It is completely arbitrary. I went to undergrad at a third tier state school. Had some brilliant professors. Met some brilliant people.

    Then met people at some great schools. Wasn't impressed.

  14. Some wannabe ginny starts to diss Gino the ginny and then challenges Gino to a dance off.

    Click here to see what happens.


  15. Oops. Wrong thread.
    Oh well.

  16. Rusty,

    Just a small question:

    What the fuck does local college/university rankings have to do with hating DC? Please stop trampling all over the fine legacy and tradition James left you and leave this petty shit in the alley.

  17. It was an excuse to make fun of GW kids, UMD kids, and Catholic U. kids; three demographics that have greatly contributed to my DC-hatred.

  18. i go to UMD, and i've switched majors a few times, so i've seen both the dumb and the dumber. however, the engineering and business schools are really good schools, and are probably mostly responsible for our high ranking. but, unless you go to the school or live in college park, you [rusty] are not going to run into the aerospace engineering kids or the smartasses. you're far more likely to run into the rest of us at DC bars with much simpler majors (like myself: econ major).

    i'm hardly a fan of UMD or its students, and in fact most of the best friends i've made during my college years were AU students (including current lady friend). in fact, i've spent many a late nights in bender...but i'm not skeptical of our ranking, because we do have a handful of really good programs. not that this is necessarily worth considering, but we do have some impressive facilities too (gyms, libraries, labs).

    i guess it's easier to appreciate our ranking once you've been to the school...

  19. "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."


    Rusty your brain is a fucking cliché machine. All the "college admissions are too competitive" bullshit is old news. I think dateline broke that story back in 96. And besides high schoolers are anything but overworked. Most of them just want to get into a good school and aren’t obsessed with getting into a top 10 school. You’re a prime example of this. The fact that you went to the 86th best college in America shows that the thought of going to a top 10 school never even crossed your mind.

    And what’s with your anger towards Maryland? I'll give AU International Service and political science (but just barely) beyond that AU pretty much has nothing. The school of engineering, political science and computer science at Maryland are among the best in the country. Not to mention the business and journalism school. Plus Maryland has a REAL library. The DC public library is more useful than that piece of shit at AU.

    I do agree with you that the riots in college park are ridiculous and need to stop. Most students feel the same way but a few frat assholes are keeping the tradition alive and making the entire school look bad school.

    I don’t really care if you think AU is better than UMD but admit that you're very elitist when it comes to private vs. public schools (which is a classic masshole trait)

  20. You're using far too much reason for a UMD student.

    Of course Maryland has some awesome programs and some awesome facilities...but I have vilified them. Forever.

  21. Ok fair enough. But why don’t you consider vilifying UMBC instead (university of maryland baltimore county for the people unfamiliar with the area). There mascot is a Golden Retriever!! The symbol of there school is a docile friendly animal!! What’s more hateable than that?

  22. it hurts to say this as a fellow UMD'er...

    neither are really that intense, but a golden retriever is far more terrifying than a terrapin.

  23. I graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law.

    I wear my work ID around my neck while walking around DC on the weekends. I wear pleated pants. I have a cellphone that clips to my belt like a "six shooter". I pop my collar. I am in intern on Capitol Hill. I scalp tickets outside the Verizon Center. I put my bare feet in the reflecting pool. And I listen to.....(gasp)....Nickelback.

    Blow me.








  25. Nasser,

    I realize that terrapins are not the most intimidating creatures around but if you fuck with one they can easily take off a finger or two. They're snapping turtles with really sharp teeth. If a golden retriever tries to attack you, all you have to do is pet him and maybe give him a treat and he’s back to sleep. So when it comes down to it I'd much rather fight a golden retriever than a terrapin.

  26. Rusty,

    The fact that you, as an AU grad, would slam VA Tech kind of says everything that needs to be said about American.

    I can only speak to my own experience. But my experience is that I've known some utterly brilliant people who went to Tech, and I also have had the misfortune of working with a sea of AU interns and grads, most of whom were among the most spoiled underachievers I have ever known.

    That said, UMD produces more criminals than any area school, hands down. Fuck the Turtle.

  27. I got bitten by a golden retriever when I was 8. Blood. Stitches. Bad. Had to beat the dog off my leg with newspapers, which I was delivering at the time. Still have the scars to prove it. Bastards can be vicious.

    Also, as long as I'm here, whoever told you William and Mary has a huge Greek scene is on crack. Maybe they said W&L, not W&M? W&M is maybe 40% Greek, and the Greeks aren't even really all that Greek. How can they be when the "frat houses" are sorry ass dorms divided into "units?"

  28. 40% Greek is really Greek to me. AU is something like 15% Greek.

    And my point towards VTech was that comparing it to schools like AU and GTown and other liberal arts schools was that it was like comparing apples and oranges. I stand by that.

    As for AU kids being underachievers, you're preaching to the choir, my man.

  29. You have an interesting threshhold of distance there. VT is too far away yet you have no problem with the "local" schools such as W&M which is 3 hours away or UVA which is 2.5? Or does it hurt less that W&M and UVA meets your standard for a school to be ranked less than as opposed to a mere land grant university such as VT?
    I am so sorry I and my fellow classmates studied such practical fields such as engineering, business, science and (yes we have it) agriculture. Because you know that those are such inferior degrees to whatever the heck you studied.

    I don't know why you hate DC so much, with the attitude that you have you fit in so well with some of the attitudes in this town.

  30. Actually, to be honest, I have no idea where William & Mary or UVA are. I just noticed that VTech was far away when that crazy man shot that deputy.

    I wasn't making fun of VTech. If I were, I would surely mention Marcus Vick.

  31. Gallaudet University has the hottest chicks. Hands down.

  32. I've been here for nearly a decade, and I have *yet* to meet a Gallaudet grad.

    What the hell do they even do there?

  33. I think the comparisons of the universities in DC are a good example of why many people hate DC.

    Look at the average SAT scores of admitted freshmen (data from Princeton Review):

    George Mason- 1103
    Catholic- 1150
    Virginia Tech-1203
    Maryland- ~1270
    George Washington- 1240
    Georgetown- ~1380
    William and Mary- ~1340

    As for laughs-
    James Madison (it is still closers than William and Mary or UVA) -1160
    UMBC- 1215
    Towson- 1070

    Howard (the black school) is rated higher than schools that are admitting (on average) much more qualified students than Howard. Than means that US News believes that either the quality of the teaching at Howard is superior to every other university in the DC area (they improve the students the most) or that they are grading black students on a curve (like many other ways that blacks are treated in DC) that US News would never use for universities that are majority white/Asian.

  34. Howard has a hospital which might have something to do with it. Good work on the SAT info though.

    I, for the record, got a 1390 but I was in the bottom half of my class (45th out of 89) which is how I ended up at AU.

  35. Actually,

    Howard University Medical School is considered one of the worst in the US, See

  36. I like the ginny.

    Also, ranking schools can get pretty silly. Let's discuss who's smarter: Madonna or Billy Krystal?

  37. You have missed thee most important aspect of this list. Who f'ing cares about whinnie, spoon fed, softy college pukes?!!! Get a real life and work, dont cut corners.

    Also w/ NFL and Redskins just starting, this issue is a s important as last wednesdays shit

  38. In reference to why William and Mary is very Greek, it's because there's nothing else to do out there -- unless you like churning butter.

  39. NFL and Redskins just starting, this issue is a s important as last wednesdays shit...

    Important? The NFL and Redskins? That's about as important to most sentient creatures as the new fall lineup on Showtime.

  40. You got a 1390?!!

    Clearly SAT scores mean nothing:-)

  41. Dude,

    SAT scoring was changed around ten years ago and then again, I think. The result was that people started scoring higher so I don't feel threatened that my 1992 scores are lower than Randy's.

    If I took that test today as a 16 year-old, I'd probably score a lot higher too.

    But can Randy run a 40 in 4.7 seconds? That's what I want to know....



  43. You have missed thee most important aspect of this list. Who f'ing cares about whinnie, spoon fed, softy college pukes?!!!

    Who cares about education? Not you, apparently. You can't even spell whiny right.

  44. Gallaudet University has the hottest chicks. Hands down.

    Well, they're really loud in bed (unless you handcuff them).

  45. Howard is a good school only if you aspire to be a rapper after you graduate.

  46. Dude, American University sucks. It doesn't even deserve 86th.

  47. Dude, American University sucks. It doesn't even deserve 86th.

    So what. Undergrad doesn't really matter for many career paths. Maybe Randy will still get into a good grad. program.

    I'm praying for him.

  48. Google gag:

    type in "failure" and see what comes up.

    Like "French military victories."

  49. I didn't even know UVA existed until I moved out here.

  50. Where are you from? Africa?

  51. I'm praying for all of you lost souls.

  52. Gallaudet girls are not hot. I see them in the food court area of Union Station when I am going to the movies with my fellow gang bangers. They look real slutty...that's not a problem if they have the body and the looks, but most of them don't...

    Although, I tried looking for deaf girls on match.com once. No luck. I really would like to see if they are loud in bed. I think most guys have thought about it before.

    American University has a lot of hot girls, and many are bisexual too. Woo hoo!!

    My two M.S. degrees in engineering from Johns Hopkins didn't help my government salary. I am making the same as some buisness grad with a graduate degree in Network Security from Capitol College. LOL...I can't believe the government actually thinks Capitol College is a real school... So much for elite education...it didn't help me one bit...

  53. I have no idea how they rank these things, but it seems like a lot of bs.

    Maryland is good for a state school and a great value for someone who lives in Maryland. (I sound like an ad!) There are lots of smarties there, but prob more idiots than I would have liked. I was in honors, so I guess I'm a bit above the average. PS: it only counts as 'ivy' if its undergrad. i would have had to give up my soul to have gotten into columbia for a BS.

    PPS: i hate all UVA grads, your school is not that awesome and does not grant you the right to walk around with that popped collar.

  54. no, i'm from LA. close though.

  55. Virginia Tech is in the middle of nowhere, you got that right. Cows (agricultural research subjects) chomp on grass as you turn onto the campus. But seriously, if you're going to trash it, at least get the name right. Virgnia Tech, Tech, or VT. VTech just doesn't exist.

    And as the name implies, people go there for engineering, computer science, agricultural studies (like turf management!) but also buisness, interior design and architecture.

    It's a damn good school. GO HOKIES!

    (oh yeah, or at least pick on our buff turkey mascot, that would have been an easy crack.)

  56. who really gives a shit where one's alma mater falls on this list? yet another reason why DC sucks -- my alma mater's dick is bigger than your alma mater's dick. boring.

  57. Let me guess, the anonymour poster above went to a crappy school. BWAHAHAHA

  58. holy christ - this blog sucks now.
    rusty has managed to take one of the only good things about DC and turn it into a pile of shit.
    way to go, pal.
    (but maybe my opinion doesn't count since i'm a lowly virginia tech guy - i should bow down to the braintrust from eurotrash AU.)

  59. I think you're a bit too sensitive about the AU/GW thing. I'm a former GW undergrad, current GW law student and if someone asked me how GW compared to AU, I'd guess they were about the same. I don't think there's such a prevailing sense of superiority.

  60. GW wins on most expensive school in the country every time ....