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College rankings are pointless, not worth it
Last month, Georgetown once again failed to crack the top-20 threshold in U.S. News and World Report’s overall college rankings. (And let’s not even mention Forbes, who placed us at an unconscionable 38th in its overall list of best universities.) But not to worry, Hoyas, there’s a silver lining in Georgetown’s apparent overall mediocrity. In recent months, Georgetown has ranked in the top 10 of invaluable categories such as most hipster, preppiest, hottest, happiest, best college city, and most recently, most satisfying sex life.
It seems that despite Georgetown’s failure to make Newsweek’s rankings for “Most Rigorous” schools, in almost every other conceivable category this campus is all things for all people. These rankings probably don’t matter. In fact, no, no they don’t. It should go without saying that these quantifications of student life are little more than filler for publications looking to analyze universities in eye-grabbing terms as opposed to job placement rates or test score. But in case anyone needed convincing, we present to you the disparate and contradictory distinctions Georgetown has garnered over the past couple of years.
Apparently someone at Playboy got a hold of the Voice’s “50 Shades of Blue and Gray,” because last week Georgetown made the list of colleges with the best sex lives, edging out sixth-place NYU for a spot in the top five. Perhaps this has something to do with HerCampus deeming Georgetown’s male student body the ninth-hottest in the country—most likely a combination of the ‘A’ ranking given to our guys by College Prowler, our “sexy nerds,” and high-end location near shops tailored to fit all the needs of the boat shoe and salmon short-wearing gentlemen that comprise most of the male population of this campus.
Paradoxically, Georgetown is simultaneously the number 10 hipster college, according to College Magazine, and the number one preppiest school, according to Huffington Post. It might be that all these researchers just have different interpretations of an ironically preppy look.
All these rankings beg the question: who is the target audience of all these magazines? If it’s prospective students, then maybe the most salient analysis is Newsweek’s “happiest students” survey. Their methodology was to look at dropout and transfer rates, as well as reported student satisfaction with their overall experience. Beating out Harvard, which took 11th place, Georgetown students were ranked the sixth happiest in the country.
Of course, students base their opinion on their university on vastly different criteria, so even transfer rates provide an imperfect litmus test. But then, as proven by all the other rankings, trying to pin down the character of a university will send you chasing windmills. So why rank at all?