It's that time of year again. Princeton Review is out with its annual rankings of colleges and universities and Penn State is once more ranked high as a party school. This year it made the list at number three. That can mean only one thing: a Penn State flack has to explain why the these rankings are flawed. I give you ...
Geoff Rushton, a university spokesman, said the rankings are unscientific and frivolous because they are done through an online survey.
"Most students considering a school like Penn State, which is tremendous academically, give more consideration to practical things than a ranking in the Princeton Review," he said.
Students who are looking to attend Penn State should think about more serious aspects of the university, rather than a "silly marketing ploy, which is what the Princeton Review party rankings are," Rushton said.
"We want students to enjoy the college experience -- it's a fun place with a lot for the students, but the ranking is a morphing trick to sell Princeton Review," he said.
You've got to respect Geoff's judgment about the Princeton Review being a "silly marketing ploy", because the folks in Old Main have a great deal of familiarity with silly marketing ploys.
Geoff thinks the that Princeton Review rankings are " unscientific and frivolous because they are done through an online survey." I guess Geoff and the others in the Old Main propaganda shop wouldn't touch a Princeton Review ranking with a ten foot pole.
What?.... No?...You don't say!
Well, it seems that I'm wrong. Penn State pimps [Ed. The page has been scrubbed. Checkout this post for details.] its high placing in various rankings and two showings in the Princeton Review makes the list. It looks like "unscientific and frivolous" means the results don't fit with with Graham's vision of how to sell the school.
Speaking of selling the school, Geoff has to walk a fine line while condemning the party ranking, because Penn State tacitly relies on its party image to maintain enrollment. However, too explicit a party image will make it hard to recruit faculty and graduate students. Here is his solution to the dilemma he faces: "We want students to enjoy the college experience -- it's a fun place with a lot for the students, but the ranking is a morphing trick to sell Princeton Review." So Geoff tells us that Penn State is kinda a party school-so kids keep on coming and bring your beer-pong tables-, but Princeton Review exaggerates it-don't worry potential faculty and grad students very few kids show up to class drunk.
The Collegian also trots out students to tell everyone that sure we like to have a good time, but Penn State is academically elite. That's funny. I know many faculty that will tell you-maybe not on the record-that Penn State students are, for the most part, mediocre.