The Rankings (by the Numbers)
Rankings happen, and whatever you may
think of them, they think highly of Pomona...
U.S. News and World Report
After several years in the number five spot, Pomona College has been ranked fourth among all liberal arts colleges in America by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s 2004 guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” The ranking is Pomona’s highest since the annual survey began in the 1980s. In the previous 10 years, the College had finished fifth in the U.S. News survey eight times, along with one seventh-place and one eighth-place ranking. In this year’s results, released on August 22, Pomona tied for the fourth spot with Carleton College and Wellesley College. Williams was ranked first, followed by Amherst College at second and Swarthmore College at third.
Pomona College students are no longer the happiest in America—now they’re only the second happiest, according to the Princeton Review. In the Review’s survey of more than 100,000 students at 351 colleges nationwide, Pomona students were second only to those at DePaul University in Chicago in satisfaction with their college, having topped the list the previous year. In the The Best 351 Colleges, 2004 Edition, Pomona also ranked number two in the category titled “Schools run like butter” and number 14 in “Dorms like palaces.”
The Atlantic Monthly
The new kid on the block with respect to rankings is The Atlantic Monthly, which entered the fray in November with a special issue focusing on college admissions, including a “Selectivity Database,” offered—in classic Atlantic Monthly fashion—as a demonstration of what’s wrong with college rankings. Their ranking, based entirely on measures of selectivity, lumps liberal arts colleges together with national universities such as Harvard and Stanford, and places Pomona at number 16—third among its peer liberal arts colleges in the group. However, lest anyone be tempted to brag about their placement, the accompanying article, titled “The Selectivity Illusion” goes on to debunk rankings in general.