Head of the class


University undergrads may claim “where fun comes to die” as their unofficial social-life slogan, but their academic experience is thriving, according to new college ratings.

Princeton Review has named Chicago numero uno for academic experience in its latest survey—one of those highly publicized lists that have become synonymous with the college-application process.

Among national universities the U of C also tied Cornell and Johns Hopkins for 14th in U.S. News and World Report’s top-schools category in its 2005 rankings. Harvard and Princeton came in first.

To rate colleges and universities, U.S. News groups schools with their academic peers and gathers data in areas including graduation and retention rate, faculty resources, and alumni giving. Based on those indicators, schools are given a weighted composite score.

While earning high marks is a plus for recruitment efforts, many administrators discredit the rankings, arguing that a school’s quality is beyond measurement.

But such scorings have a strong foothold in the American marketplace, and U.S. News’s annual ratings, which debuted in 1983, now share the limelight with other lists including Princeton Review’s.

Needless to say, Chicago didn’t sweep every category. It was, for example, absent from U.S. News’s list of schools with the most athletic scholarships. Maybe next year.

This item corrects the 8/27 original posting--8/31/04.


August 27, 2004