But the larger problem with ranking colleges is that it
is based on the premise that attending college is like an amusement park
ride: a passive experience where the student picks the most thrilling
ride he can handle, straps in, and holds on to his digital camera.
College is nothing like that. When students go to college–any
college–they take classes. Some of those classes are taught by
brilliant professors, some are taught by lousy professors, and some are
taught by graduate students. What they get out of their education is a
function of the effort they put in. It's possible to go to the
number-two ranked college and get a terrible education, just as it's
possible to go to number 180 and get a wonderful education."