The Daily Beast (online home of Newsweek) has posted a section of 2012 College Rankings for your entertainment. The lists are apparently developed with help from College Prowler, using rankings provided by students.
The most interesting lists (at least for me) are the Top 25 Sororities, and the Top 25 Fraternities. Anyone who spends any time working with college fraternities and sororities will look at these lists and go, “Huh?” The criteria used for these lists are meaningless, and it is almost criminal. I am shocked that a (theoretically) well-respected journalistic entity, like Newsweek, can get away with publishing this garbage. (Note – Zeta Tau Alpha and Sigma Chi are outstanding organizations, worthy of high rankings, just not based on these criteria.)
The Top 25 Sorority list is a ranking of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations based on the number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes from their National social media accounts, the number of chapters, and some confusing way to calculate charitable donations. I am sure these sororities are pleased to be ranked based on social media activities from their HQ. Of course, they could only rank the top 25, so Delta Phi Epsilon got left off the list. (There are a total of 26 NPC organizations.)
Of course the Top 25 Fraternities would not be ranked by social media metrics. No, this ranking is based on the number of alumni in Congress, and alumni who have been elected President, along with the number of chapters and the obscure charitable donation factor. For this list, The Daily Beast is only using those fraternities that are members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). This means that this list also includes several NPHC fraternities who are also NIC members, but excludes fraternities like Kappa Sigma, which has opted to drop NIC membership.
If you are in the mood to let The Daily Beast know what you think about their lists, the contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further evidence of how stupid these lists are can be found in the list of 25 Least Rigorous Colleges. The inclusion of Cal Poly-Pomona (#3), and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (#24) on this list is enough to invalidate the entire project. I also enjoyed the inclusion of SUNY-Fredonia (#10) on the list of 25 Least Affordable Colleges. Of course, that listing only applies to the 113 out-of-state students attending Fredonia.
Hey Newsweek, putting this crap on The Daily Beast severely undercuts what is left of your credibility in the world of journalism. At least the US News rankings, while somewhat suspect, are based on something.