This month US News & World Report released its 2009 College Rankings and the accusations of unfairness abound. As with any evaluative model, institutions that don't quite confine to the assessment criteria don't make the cut. And some great schools get lost in the shuffle as a result.
So, before high schoolers embark on college visits this summer, fretting about ever-dwindling admission rates and financial aid, let me suggest an alternative list. These three schools offer world-class educations, but have significantly decreased in popularity over the last decade. This makes them (relatively) easier to get into than schools of equal caliber.
Alternate Ivy: Stansbury University
Stansbury is known as "the Harvard of the West". It is a highly competitive school with an elite student body. But here's the secret: all you need to get in is a high SAT score. If you're a student who has slacked off for four years but scored a 2350, you're a shoe in. Stansbury also gives a number of full scholarships to promising athletes. In recent years, the school has been accused of coasting on its (allegedly declining) reputation, as a relatively low number of students who are admitted actually matriculate. In fact, no current students could be found to participate in this survey. Famous Alumni: No famous graduates, but Zachary Morris and Albert Clifford Slater were both accepted and considered attending.
Best State School: University of California at Sunnydale
Matriculation rates at UCS have gone way done in the past few years, due to the relocation of the campus when the town of Sunnydale collapsed into the mouth of Hell in 2003. But UCS still offers strong academics, include a highly experimental Psychology Department and the option to design one's own curriculum. Socially, UCS is known for its huge fraternity/ sorority scene, though there is also a more alternative crowd with whom the black arts are quite popular. Students call Sunnydale a "sink or swim" school. The transfer rate is high and the death rate is higher. But if you can make it through, you'll be well prepared to take on anything. Famous Alumni: Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer and Willow Rosenberg, Witch (neither of whom completed degrees)
Best Liberal Arts College: Worthington University
Worthington University is one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. It's also famous for having some of the most luxurious dorm rooms. However, its failure to break into the top 50 of any ranking system has brought Worthington's admission rates way up in the past few years. Worthington is also known for admitting the students of celebrity parents who are prepared to give sizable donations. The professors at Worthington are young, sexy and happy to engage in inappropriate flirtations with students. A Professor Wilder is particularly popular in the English Department. While sports and extracurriculars are strong, students say the social scene revolves around the city of Boston. Famous Alumni: Josephine Potter, Editor and Audrey Lidell, back up singer for John Mayer and daughter of Hollywood actress Kay Liddell.