Kenyon Plummets 30 Spots in Forbes Ranking

The trajectory of the College's Forbes rating.

The trajectory of the College’s Forbes rating.

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!

Kenyon claims not to care about college rankings, but it’s hard not to notice when you metaphorically trip and fall down one of them.

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:

2012 Forbes Methodology

And here’s how they did it this year:

Forbes 2013 Methodology

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.

(H/T @maxsiegrist)

19 responses

  1. For good reason. This place has become an overgrown summer camp with our huge bureaucracy. Where open-minded individuals once went to learn and expand their worlds is now a joke, where students live in” apartment styled housing” and the landlord tell you to go to bed at 2. Where are the freedoms we once had? Why must we pay 7,000$ a year for the worst food? And Greek Life? A total cuckold. Wise up Kenyon, you don’t become an elite school by stripping yourself of tradition and mimicking the ivies. Kenyon had its own spirit, now it’s just another castrated, cookie-cutter Liberal arts factory, where its alumni graduate with no job skills, or even the basic knowledge of how to handle hard alcohol. Worth 200k? I think not!

    • I gotta say I sort of agree…
      It’s scary how I saw the freedom of students get stripped away during my 4 years there.
      Dempsey (mostly lower Dempsey) was off limits for stupid events and many students couldn’t find places to eat anymore; complaints did nothing to change this.
      Housing lottery and housing space… ALWAYS a problem.
      Send off is a joke… we get herded into a small place and are expected to enjoy our confinement.
      Alcoholic parties are shut down all the time (mostly due to the limited space we have for parties). It’s no wonder the social environment is non existent at Kenyon.

      It’s actually not just the college’s fault. The people that attend the place kind of sucked.
      There’s a huge circle jerk of narrow minded hipsters that run EVERYTHING (I barely saw any hipsters in 2007).
      They always want public discussion, but disagreement and opposition is shut down fast and true discussion doesn’t exist. (Any Conservative and Republican had to hide their political view.) They even goes are far as shaming individuals until he/she apologizes to the public.

      • So you hate circlejerks, huh? Funny how the anti-hipster circlejerk is 10 times bigger than anything the “hipsters” do. You’re just another jaded member in the crowd.

    • Then just leave dude. No one is keeping you there. Quit whining about something you have complete control over.

      • It’s not easy to just leave a school; I think freshman year is the only time people should ever transfer/leave a school. Other than that, you just have to muscle your way through it.

        “funny how the anti-hipster circlejerk is 10 times bigger than anything the hipsters do”
        What does this even mean? It can’t even be 10 times bigger if the school is comprised mostly of them…
        Being jaded isn’t always a bad thing; i saw how the school changed (these weren’t good changes either).

        Funny how the only things you guys can say is “quit complaining”. There could be discussion or even a legitimate argument…
        If you’re gonna post, bring something to the table.

      • Yeah, since you bring so much to the table. It’s actually fairly easy to transfer, loads of people do it. Of course, you won’t admit that, since you obviously love to complain. There’s a reason people tell you to stop — you have the ability to change the thing that annoys you, yet you don’t. You have no right to bitch about it.

  2. Are you sure you are not mistaking the ranking decline for the difference between the liberal arts school ranking and the general college and university rankings? I’ve never seen a list where Kenyon was ranked 30 amongst schools such as Yale and UVA

  3. If you discount the large number of research universities (e.g. University of Washington and UNC, but there are quite a few others as well) that moved ahead of us, and realize that we are pretty much in the same company as the other very similar liberal arts schools that we are still next to in the rankings, you realize that this means absolutely nothing. It looks as if the new criteria have contributed to favor larger schools. (This aside, the fact that a school like Cornell can jump up 32 spots in one year, let alone Kenyon’s dropping 30 spots in one year, suggests that these rankings are pretty arbitrary and unreliable. But we all knew that already!)

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