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Berkeley ranked fifth by people actually familiar with academics

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MARCH 07, 2013

In a recent article, we talked about how high schoolers ranked Berkeley as 27th in desirability. Well, it seems that senior academics disagree (called it)! Now comes the important question: Who has more authority, high schoolers or senior academics?

High schoolers definitely know what they’re talking about when it comes to the quality of an institution. Academics sit in their ivory towers, completely out of touch with the zeitgeist. We’d be willing to bet that the majority of these stuffy academics don’t even know what the Harlem Shake is. Oh wait, neither does anyone else.

Our point is simply that the article published by the Times Higher Education is flawed because it relies on those who are familiar with academics. How can you rank schools unless your main metrics are how much money is thrown at them and their rate of grade inflation?

Research discoveries are important and all, but you know that popular aphorism:  It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Berkeley may say a lot of cool stuff, but when it’s not presented on gold-encrusted paper and has “public university” stamped at the bottom, why should anyone take it seriously?

Stanfurdians may be disappointed that we eked them out of the top five — even after massive state disinvestment — but they can take solace in the fact that it’s only senior academics who are doing the ranking. U.S. News still ranks them at sixth while we’re at 21st — clearly, they’re using much more reliable metrics than the perception of academia. Don’t worry, Stanfurdians, you win out where it counts: in bark but not bite.

Berkeley still bites much harder.

Contact Erik Swan at 


MARCH 08, 2013