I was watching the Colbert Report tonight when I heard a gentleman speak about The Washington Monthly College Guide. I was immediately intrigued. The article begins by articulating what the editors feel are the primary purposes of education:

The first question we asked was, what does America need from its universities? From this starting point, we came up with three central criteria: Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth, and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service.

The editors go on to make the distinction that they are not using metrics that the other college ranking systems use (like U.S. News and World Report). They are clearly measuring schools by different criteria and the results are surprising. With the exception of Cornell and U Penn, the list shows that the elite Ivy leagues don’t measure up to these standards. The University of California system measures highly; due to its emphasis on obtaining students from all backgrounds and its impressive graduation rates. Both my alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, and my graduate school, University of Southern California make the grade (at 19 and 28 respectively).

All in all it was a highly interesting and well researched article.


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