Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Today, U.S. News and World Report released its 2010 college rankings. A few things have changed since last year: Harvard now shares first place with Princeton on the magazine's national universities list. And while on last year's liberal arts list Williams and Amherst tied for first place, now Williams is number one and Amherst is number two. Overall, though, the same old usual-suspect schools represented in the top tens.
Another thing that hasn't changed much: relatively low participation in the repuation survey. Inside Higher Ed reports:
U.S. News said that 48 percent of all institutions responded to the reputation survey that can be filled out by presidents, provosts, admissions deans or others and that counts for the largest portion of formula used in the rankings. That's up two percentage points from last year. Among liberal arts institutions, this year's 46 percent participation was also up two points. In both cases, these upticks still don't make up for a lot of lost ground -- just a few years ago the national participation rate was 67 percent.
That drop in participation from a few years back reflects some growing uneasiness with the survey, which accounts for 25 percent of a school's overall score, and as I said yesterday, is not exactly scientific. Which brings me to my next point: The completely unscientific, very first MoJo Mini College Guide. The ten schools on our list are a diverse bunch—public and private; collleges and universities; religious and secular; urban and rural. They may not juke their stats to improve their USNWR rankings, but here's what they do have: good values and good value. See which schools made our cut—and nominate your alma mater for next year's edition—here.
Also part of the MoJo Mini College Guide: The first annual Hellraiser Awards honor the year’s best feats of student activism. These cool jobs don't require a piece of sheepskin—but do pay the bills. And speaking of cold hard cash, turns out there’s a scholarship out there for every kind of student, from hard-core Trekkies to duct tape artists.