According to Forbes magazine’s college rankings, Kenyon just became a lot less cool. The most recent overall ranking has us at 69th, 30 spots lower than last year. What a diss!
You can find Kenyon’s inglorious ranking here, where it would appear our institution is slightly better than Lehigh University, but not quite as good as University of Wisconsin (Madison). Last year, Oberlin was all the way at #75, while this year it was #50. Denison continues to suck, dropping from #102 to #130.
This all begs the question: What happened?
Forbes’ ranking methodology is fairly complicated and rife with endnotes and caveats, so I’ve tried using the magic of charts to explain why the magazine is hating so hard.
To synthesize each ranking, Forbes gathers all kinds of data, which can be broken down into the following categories: student satisfaction, post graduate success, student debt, four-year graduation rate and and competitive awards.
Here’s how they made the ranking in 2012:
And here’s how they did it this year:
As you can see, the most obvious shift is away from competitive awards and towards the four-year graduation rate. It’s worth noting that each of these categories is grouped from sub-categories. In a blatant attempt to discredit this ranking, I’ll also add that the “student satisfaction” component is derived mostly from Rate My Professors, the birthplace of non-response bias. Even Forbes admits that it’s not a very good way to evaluate schools (emphasis mine):
The research is not all enthusiastically supportive of [Rate My Professor]. Felton, Koper, Mitchell and Stinson suggest that the positive correlation between RMP quality ratings and ease of course assessments make this a questionable instrument.
See? The whole ranking is a sham. Put it out of your mind. Just think about our shiny new website.