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U.S. News Rankings Put MIT in 4th, Up One Spot

By Jenny Zhang

MIT moved up one spot to fourth place in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings this year but remained tied with several schools overall, including last year’s fellow fifth-place universities, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.

MIT finished in a five-way tie among national universities, with the California Institute of Technology and Duke also tied with MIT this year.

However, MIT remained first overall for engineering, and took top honors for aeronautical and astronautical, chemical, computer, electrical, mechanical, and nuclear engineering.

Princeton took the top spot overall for national universities offering doctorates for the third year in a row. Harvard and Yale tied for second place, as they did last year.

For this year’s rankings, based on data from 2001, 98 percent of MIT’s freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes, and the 25th to 75th percentile SAT scores were 1410 to 1560. Only 17 percent of those who applied were admitted.

Students dismiss rankings

While the Undergraduate Association did not attempt to lead a boycott of the U.S. News rankings as in years past, several students were quick to dismiss the rankings as irrelevant.

Joanna J. Liang ’04 said she did not think the rankings held much meaning. “It’s been pretty much the same in the last few years,” she said. “I don’t think it’s possible to compare the colleges to each other because it’s so arbitrary.”

However, Liang still thought MIT deserved better than its tie for fourth. “Being tied with Duke and UPenn ... that’s brutal,” she said.

Phillip M. Kelleher ’04 said that MIT should be tied with Harvard and ranked above Yale and Princeton. He also said that rankings depended too heavily on what information U.S. News chose to gather and how much emphasis was put on each area.

Sloan ranked second

The Sloan School of Management was ranked second beneath the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton for undergraduate business programs. However, MIT took the top spot for several business specialities: management information systems, production/operations management, and qualitative analysis/methods.

Rank based largely on statistics

U.S. News ranks colleges by such criteria as peer assessments by representatives of each school (25 percent weight), student retention (20 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (5 percent), and alumni giving rank (5 percent).

Rankings for engineering and business programs are based entirely on peer assessments from deans and senior faculty.