Tuesday, August 23, 2005
March Of The Highlanders
It's out! It's here! Finally, finally! The US News & World Report Rankings of America's Best Colleges has arrived!

All across America, families are taking time out from their annual Release of the US News & World Report Ranking of America's Best Colleges barbecues to peruse the long-awaited totally objective and exhaustive list that establishes--once and for all--whose school is better than whose. Whom's. Whomse. Whatever.

When the mail truck pulls up (we all subscribe, right? The commercials had Tom Selleck and William F. Buckley... there's no way you resisted that), we all drop what we're doing and run. The burgers can burn on the grill for a little bit. The piƱata, wounded but not defeated, can swing there for a minute. And the dead clown at the bottom of the pool, well, it's not like he's going anywhere. We can always fish him out tomorrow. We got Rankings!

I spend a lot of time being defensive about the schools I went to (see the About Me section over on the right... I'll wait here until you're done being bemused...), especially for my undergrad. Not only is it source of pride-by-association as my alma mater, but it is also located in my hometown, which doubles my sense of ownership and protection. I mean yeah, it's a state school, on the small-ish side, but it is an actual University of California campus. It's not like I had to go to a Cal-State school. Talk about embarrassing.

Honestly, though, I couldn't be more pleased. I still really can't believe it. The good people at US News & World Report looked at my quaint little school, it's national reputation made mostly to this point by the fact that it has no national reputation, pulled a HUUUGE number.

University of California Riverside: #85.


Yes! Go Highlanders!

I don't know what criteria they used to award points, but they saw fit to give us 85 of them. I still can't believe it.

At 85 we got more points than every other UC campus. More than Santa Cruz (68), UCLA (25) and (this is a stunner) Berkeley, who only garnered 20 points. That's the least amount of points for any public school. It's a shame, because I've always thought so highly of that institution.

Everyone needs to brace themselves, because there are going to be some firings at some big-time schools. All the lowest point-totals are among well-known private schools. The entire bottom of the table (which is, for some reason, presented upside down... I guess to preserve the surprise?) is comprised of schools like Notre Dame (18), University of Chicago (15), MIT (7) and Yale (3).

Three measly points for Yale. Scandalous.

The bottom of the list, the absolute dregs, is Harvard with only one point. One. I know they've been going through some tough times like that thing that one guy said that pissed off all those chicks, but wow. How the mighty have fallen.

This kind of makes me a little skeptical about rankings like this, though. I know times are tough at Harvard, but they get 1 and my school gets 85? It's kind of hard for me to believe that UC Riverside is eighty-five times better than Harvard.

But hey... what are you gonna do? Rankings is rankings. If the US News & World Report says it, it's good enough for me.

Congratulations are in order for the schools who pulled in the highest point totals, five tied at 120 points. 120! And one of them is Washington State! I always assumed that was a crappy little party school out in the middle of a cow pasture in Pullman. Color me wrong. Something they're doing is working a treat. Kudos, Cougars. Relish it while you can. Last year my school only got 81. This year, we got 85. We're gaining on you.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0



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