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Cornell's Real Image Problem

I was traveling for work today, and I came home to find this gem in my mailbox:

Cornell is currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the number 12 university in the country. Back in the 1990s Cornell regularly ranked in the top ten... Cornell is heavily penalized for its large classes, relatively high admittance rates and the low test scores of our matriculants.
So back in the good ol' days, Cornell ranked in the top ten on three seperate occasions between 1991 and 2000. I wonder if the author didn't do his homework on this one, of if he just has a different definition of 'regularly' than I do, because he seems to make the claim that there used be a golden era when Cornell consistently ranked high according to U.S. News's completely arbitrary rankings scheme.

Coincidentally, at the same time Cornell was regularly in the "top ten" it also had four consecutive years of being no higher than thirteenth, including one year at fifteenth. So there you go.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: yes U.S. News rankings matter for the marginal accepted student, but the fact that a vocal minority of Cornell students constantly whine about Cornell's ranking does not help Cornell's image problem, if it indeed even has one.

So talk all you want about the need for Cornell to put even more of an emphasis on undergraduate education, but it might behoove all of us if you didn't obnoxiously complain about Cornell's rankings all of the time. Brown ranks below us, but you don't hear them concerning themselves about it all that much. After all, it doesn't seem to affect Brown's abillity to enroll 75 percent of the common admits between Cornell and Brown either.

And by the way that's an interesting $750 million dollar figure that is being tossing out there for the financial aid component of the University's capital campaign.I wonder who scooped that?

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on September 25, 2006 (#)

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