Column: Eastern: No. 4 in rankings, No. 1 in my heart

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

Last week, I wrote (half-jokingly and half-seriously) about lists of party college rankings and their irrelevance. 

I noted that Eastern rarely, if ever, appears on any of these lists. Eastern may not be on the list of top keg-standing colleges in the Midwest, but I did see our school appear on another list recently.

Eastern was ranked No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of top public regional schools in the Midwest. 

Now, before we all start patting ourselves on the back, we must ask: does this matter and should we care, or is this just another farce of a list taking up space on the Internet?

Well, if you do a quick Google search, you can find criticism of U.S. News’ annual lists nearly from their conception in the mid 1980s. Last year, The Atlantic even gave readers an “annual reminder to ignore the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings.”

The article gives links to criticisms, reports and essays written over the years about the rankings, but sums it up saying that, yeah, we should probably ignore these.

But we won’t because, they’re, well, entertaining.

People love ranking things. Everything needs to be ranked. Research is hard and looking at things from all the different perspectives of how one thing could possibly be better than another is also hard, so screw it, throw together some rankings with little-to-no context and people might be interested enough to click on a link. 

Did we really settle the argument of the best 90s throwback jams ranked on Buzzfeed? Probably not, but who cares? People clicked on the link. Everything else is small potatoes (Potato rankings: 1. Mashed, 2. French fried, 3. Sweet, and at 99999. Au gratin. Any disagreements over said rankings should be sent to Daily Eastern News Opinions Editor Rob Downen at [email protected].)

I guess I’m a sucker, too, because I clicked the link, only to find Eastern ranked fourth (fourth! We wouldn’t even medal!) in a subcategory of a subcategory of a subcategory. 

Actually, if you look closely, Eastern is tied for fourth. Tied for fourth with the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.  So does it even matter? I should have went to UW-La Crosse. 

What a mistake I made. I mean, according to this list, they’re practically the same school. 

The maker’s of this list, I’m sure, were up for many sleepless nights debating on who should be No. 4. Us or them?

Eventually they just couldn’t come to a decision. I mean, can you blame them?

Anyway, I hate to say it, but I don’t think these rankings matter. This is even putting aside that the U.S. News & World Report will often change its ranking criteria from year to year, making it difficult to show which schools are actually “getting better” or that these aren’t really rankings of the quality of education you’re getting.

I’m not saying that Eastern is a bad school. It’s not. I don’t care if it’s No. 4 or 44 or 444. 

I picked Eastern because I thought it was the right school for me based on a number of variables like location, cost, size and what my parents and I thought would be right for me. 

That’s how you should be picking your schools, by what works for you, not what works for some school to get ranked on an Internet list.

Dominic Renzetti is a senior family and consumer sciences major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].