Friday, August 17, 2007

Rankings, matches, and what really matters

US News & World Report - America's Best Colleges 2008

Hey guys, looks like I made the wrong choice with MIT. Guess I should have gone to Stanford instead. Is it too late for me to switch?

[/sarcasm]

No offense to any of my Stanford friends or Stanford hopefuls, by the way - I still love that school, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been offered admission there. But when it comes to colleges, I firmly believe that rankings like these really can't tell the whole picture. Sure, the rankings are fairly accurate, and they're a good tool for figuring out where to apply. But what matters in the end is how the school fits you - and for me, I simply knew that I fit more at MIT than Stanford. Other people may be the opposite, and that's perfectly fine by me.

What it boils down to is this: If you're lucky enough to get into several great schools, pick the school that matches you, not what some magazine says is "better." For all you guys who still haven't figured out where you want to go, especially the '12s, trust me on this one: when you've found your match, you'll know.

That said, I am mildly annoyed that MIT somehow dropped from tied for 4th to 7th - call it beaver pride, I guess. But I doubt it'll seriously affect the number of applicants for next year, especially because everyone knows MIT is awesome, regardless of what US News says. ;)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

ah, no worries!
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/topprogs_withphd_brief.php

Anonymous said...

oh no it got cut off
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews
/edu/college/rankings/brief/topprogs_withphd_brief.p
hp

Paul said...

Hah, proof the world hasn't gone completely nuts. :)

Star said...

Hey Paul,
I completly agree with you about the whole "match", but as a MIT '12 hopeful I'm going to have to be applying to many schools this year, and I'm (kinda) considering Stanford. Just wondering if you could give me any advice on how the atmosphere there is different from MIT?
-- Star

Paul said...

Hey Star,

I definitely understand your desire to apply to many schools! In fact, I would highly recommend doing so - especially since you may not figure out the identity of your "dream school" until after the application deadline!

I'd be more than happy to try and offer you my opinion on the atmosphere at Stanford, as well as any other questions you might have. You know my email, so just drop me a line when you get the chance, and I promise I'll be as impartial as possible. :)

Wings said...

Amen to that!

Shawn said...

Uh oh, I guess I should have chosen Caltech, then. They were tied when I made my decision, but now....

haha just kidding...I am still definitely happy I made my decision.

Although it annoys me that MIT dropped. But the whole ranking system goes by screwy stats anyway. Not sure how they go exactly, though, but it probably puts MIT at a disadvantage for not being lib arts, since that implies a weaker humanities curriculum. But hey, if we wanted humanities, we wouldn't be going here, anyway :-P