Brown University has the distinct misfortune of consistently receiving the worst ranking among Ivy League schools in US News and World Reports rankings that are released each year. In the 2010 Best Colleges edition, Brown was ranked 16th overall in the most popular category of the National Colleges Ranking. For the 2010 ranking Brown finished one place behind fellow Ivy League Cornell University. Unfortunately for Brown’s Nice Guys, being affiliated with as prestigious a group as the Ivy League means accepting the reality that when competing in an objective ranking system with such highly regarded institutions at least one member will have to come in last place.
Being one of the top twenty American universities (and in this specific case one of the top sixteen universities) is certainly no mean feat. In fact, it can easily be argued that all top-tier schools are outstanding institutions of higher learning that provide tremendous resources for the brightest students on the planet. Parents all over the world wish they could give their children the opportunity to attend the best American universities.
Brown University, located in Providence Rhode Island, has a storied history dating back to the pre-Revolutionary War days in an era before the United States of America even existed. Founded in 1764 by Baptist, Brown University was both a proud member of Colonial Colleges (recognizing the nine oldest North American institutions of higher learning) and the Ivy League which only formally adopted the title Ivy in 1954 to distinguish the athletic conference in which eight academic members compete.
The eight schools that make up the Ivy League along with their 2010 US News and World Report rankings are:
- Harvard University (tied #1: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Princeton University (tied #1: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Yale University (#3: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- University of Pennsylvania (#4: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Columbia University (number 8: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Dartmouth College (number 11: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Cornell University (number 15: 2010 US News and World Report rankings) and finally
- Brown University (number 16: 2010 US News and World Report rankings).
As evident from the top spots (this year Harvard and Princeton) there are ties in the standings. Also noteworthy is the fact that clearly the Ivy League schools don’t simply make up the entire roster from positions one through eight. Scattered across the top sixteen are highly respected non-Ivy League schools such as:
- Stanford (#4: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Duke (number 10: 2010 US News and World Report rankings),
- Washington University in St. Louis (number 12: 2010 US News and World Report rankings), e
- Johns Hopkins University (number 14: 2010 US News and World Report rankings) among others.
Over the past decade the US News and World Report rankings for Brown University have fluctuated while remaining adolescent during the last decade. Although Brown holds a ranking that is enviable by the vast majority of schools, the position at the bottom of the Ivy League pack has led some schools (such as Brown) to question the importance and validity of the rankings.
In terms of addressing the concern about the importance of these national rankings, the only statement that can be made with absolute certainty is that no one knows exactly what role these rankings play in terms of influencing the schools the best students choose to attend. In an ideal world, all students would have unlimited resources and the ability to familiarize themselves with each college’s curriculum and environment before making informed decisions about which contexts best suit their personalities and meet their needs. The reality is that this utopia will simply never exist, and for most prospective freshers, the closest they can figure out what programs are available is through what they learn in publications like the US News and World Reports annual rankings. While schools that are less than happy with their current rankings are more than happy to argue that the rankings are irrelevant, the truth is that these schools deny, at best, the influence these rankings have on the highly competitive teens who are Were raised in an environment that instills a mindset of constant striving for the highest grades and best test scores.
Regardless of how parents, students, or admissions offices feel about college rankings, there are two points that are clearly indisputable:
(1) the debate about the ability of these rankings to accurately measure subjective problems will continue for quite some time e
(2) these rankings are here to stay.