The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Administrators ambivalent about ratings, and that's fair

By Alex Park

Well it’s that time of year again. After the dust settles, community members of all the freshly declared “new” and “emerging Ivies” can revel in their glory and count their bragging rights as they sift through the glossy pages of Newsweek’s latest college issue, filled to the brim with color photos and words of praise. Copies hit news stands on August 20. This year, the magazine kept with its 2005 model by assigning individual colleges the title of “hottest” in various categories, from “hottest technical college” to “hottest for sports fans,” with 25 colleges in all receiving the recognition.

Macalester won for “hottest liberal arts college” in 2005, prompting a surge in positive recognition from parents and college advisors, and (some have said) applications for the following year.
So what about this year? Did Macalester outshine the best and rise to the top of its class? Not quite. In fact, the winner for the liberal arts category for 2007 was none other than . Princeton University?
To its credit, the magazine did split the category into two separate ones: “Hottest Liberal-Arts School You Never Heard Of” and “Hottest for Liberal Arts.” Princeton, not being a liberal arts college in anyone’s, except perhaps its own definition, apparently qualified for the latter category (the winner in the former was Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, La.). Princeton was one of three Ivy League schools to make the cut out of 25 total in a guide that has ironically promoted itself in the past as one that looks beyond the Ivy League to find choice schools.

“The demand for an excellent education has created an ever-expanding supply of big and small campuses that provide great academics and first-rate faculties,” the 2005 guide stated. The guide heralded 25 schools, including Macalester, as “the New Ivies” – institutions that were already ahead of the curve on higher education, beating the nation’s dusty old elites at their own game. True as these sentiments may be, however, such a highly publicized commitment to less-known schools went unheralded this year.

Adding to the three Ivies already on the list, other institutions included Johns Hopkins University (“Hottest For Pre-Meds”), Cooper Union (“Hottest for Free Tuition”) and Georgetown (“Hottest Big-City School”). The list also included seven state schools. At that rate, Centenary College, with a student body of around 1,000, may have been the only place that you’ve actually never heard of.

In its introduction this year, Newsweek gestured toward assuring all of us that the occasional shift in hierarchy really wasn’t any more than that. Comparing our institution of higher learning to shoes, cars, and celebrities, it said tepidly that “good colleges go in and out of fashion.”

This year, Macalester just happened to be out of style.

So, do college administrators really care that much?

“Not really,” Dean of Students Jim Hoppe said recently, adding that, for their part, administrators were mostly fair weather fans when it came to the rankings game.

When rankings are good, it’s something to brag about, as anyone here in 2005 will remember. But when they’re not, no one really cares. Maybe that’s fair after all.

View Comments (7)
More to Discover

Comments (7)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • K

    Keith StewartSep 12, 2019 at 3:51 am

    I really like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve you guys to our blogroll.

  • S

    Stewart McGrathSep 10, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Very great visual appeal on this site, I’d value it 10 10.

  • L

    Luke BowerSep 5, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    I have noticed that car insurance businesses know the autos which are susceptible to accidents as well as other risks. They also know what types of cars are susceptible to higher risk plus the higher risk they have got the higher the actual premium rate. Understanding the very simple basics with car insurance will allow you to choose the right types of insurance policy that may take care of your requirements in case you get involved in an accident. Appreciate your sharing a ideas on your own blog.