Controversy Over College Rankings
As campuses across the country opened for fall semester, a number of news outlets released their annual rankings of US academic institutions, with the longest running of these sources, the US News and World Report, included among them. On their list of top liberal arts colleges, Oberlin tied the United States Naval Academy at number 20.
Controversy surrounds such rankings, and some of Oberlin’s peer institutions, such as Sarah Lawrence College and Reed College, have refused to participate in the statistical reports — citing that numerical data cannot correctly represent a place of higher education. Oberlin continues to participate in the US News and World Report surveys, and has since 1983.
Complaints include supposed data manipulation on the part of US News and World Report and protests from colleges that the report’s criteria are not the sole defining factors of a good school.
Oberlin also grabbed impressive spots on other recent polls. In the third annual Washington Monthly list of top colleges, Oberlin ranked 13th, and in environmental magazine Grist, the campus was ranked 5th among green colleges.
On a more light-hearted note, The Princeton Review ranked Oberlin at 20th for both “Dodgeball Targets” and “Reefer Madness,” 14th for “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging Clove-Smoking Vegetarians” and tenth for “Students Most Nostalgic for Bill Clinton.”