Friday, August 22, 2008

Harvard number one

At what, exactly? At some arithmetic expression of various objective factors - endowment, library volumes, selectivity, etc. - that capture wealth and infrastructure very well. But what's important in a college education is always much more subjective - the quality of teaching, the availability of mentors who share passion for a subject, and peers whose impact is often greater than the faculty's, to name a few factors that US News can't measure first hand.

This is far too crude a measurement to distinguish between universities in pretty wide bands. Next year, some other place will probably be number one, but only nominally.

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