August 25, 2004

Big Red Books and Bellies

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The Princeton Review’s annual ranking of “The Best 357 Colleges” are in, and out of a possible 64 categories, Cornell is recognized in two. The Princeton Review’s evaluation of American colleges is considered unconventional and controversial for its atypical categories and survey method that relies solely on the opinions of college students.

Princeton Review’s assessment is far more specific and in-depth than the typical list of institutions whose ranking is based on academic reputation and endowment. For example, in schools full of non-athletic students, Princeton Review distinguishes between the kind of student, separating the “Dodge Ball Targets” from the “Future Rotarians And Daughters of The American Revolution.”

On the list, Cornell ranked number four for “Great Campus Food” in the Quality of Life section, and ninth in the country for our “Great College Library.”

The praise for our campus food did not come as a shock to most students. “I couldn’t wait for RPU to open at 5:30 so I would go to Appel at 4:50,” said Susannah Pollack ’07. “I was the person eating with the professors and the visiting grandparents.” Students, however, expressed surprise that Olin and Uris received praise. “Our library’s good? The best reviews I’ve heard have come from some isolated incidents in the stacks…though I’m not sure those had much to do with the books,” questioned Rebecca Sotsky ’07.

When looking at the other categories listed in the rankings, Michelle Cassorla ’07 commented that “with the bi-annual coursEnroll server crash, the 18 credits of science that communications majors are required to take, and the mounds and mounds of red tape we have to go through to do anything, I was surprised we didn’t rank in the ‘school runs like butter’ category.”

As insulting as just two accomplishments may seem to the Big Red ego, Cornell’s number of awards was comparable to other Ivy League schools. Though Harvard, Yale and Princeton all beat CU, each receiving either four or five awards, Penn and Columbia both came out with exactly two. The Ivy with the most awards, Dartmouth, was beneath us in both our areas of recognition (coming in sixth for food and 11th for their library).

Much to the dismay of some Cornellians, we were not recognized for our party scene. “I know we have some up-tight people, but the rest of the campus definitely works to overcompensate on their behalf,” said Jessica Goren ’06.

Other more non-traditional categories in the list include “reefer madness,” “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians” and “Students Most Nostalgic for Ronald Reagan.”

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun Staff Writer