Colgate Name to List of New Ivies

Jess Mawhirt

Before you begin reading this, take a second and pat yourself on the back. You are either attending or in some way an integral part of one of the nation’s newly proclaimed “New Ivy League Schools.”In Kaplan & Newsweek’s 2007 edition of “How to Get into College,” our very own Colgate University was ranked among the nation’s best institutions due to its rigorous academic programs, its selectivity and its talented students and faculty.So what does “New Ivy” actually mean? Is Kaplan/Newsweek suggesting these 25 schools, including Boston College, Davidson, Skidmore, Emory, Tufts, Bowdoin and NYU to name a few, are rivaling the time-honored giants of higher education, such as Harvard and Princeton? The answer is yes. With admission season becoming more and more competitive, the demand for schools like Colgate, with traditions of academic excellence and world-class faculties and staff, is much greater.National Director of SAT & ACT Programs for Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions and Contributing Editor of the Guide Brandon Jones said, “You don’t need ivy growing on the walls to be a great institution.” Kaplan had a difficult task of picking just 25 colleges to appear on the list. “The decision to exclude was much harder than the decision to include,” Jones remarked. “If a school is not on the list, it does not mean it is a bad school. But if it is on the list, it is certainly a great school, and Colgate certainly deserves that recognition.”Dean of Admissions Gary Ross was pleased to see Colgate compared with any college or university in the country because, as he said, “Colgate compares favorably.”In the 175-word blurb about Colgate, Newsweek/Kaplan chose to highlight the university’s Golf Course and Division I golf team and wide array of study-abroad programs. The Newsweek article did not mention Colgate’s other D-1 athletics or any discussion of its on-campus academic programs.”The write-up in Newsweek captured a lot,” Ross continued, “But it is impossible to capture all the outstanding qualities Colgate has to offer in that many words.” Ross, who had a forty-five minute interview with the magazine “would have included other important points, but they were omitted.”So how will this new ranking affect the kinds of applications the Admission Department receives?In recent years, schools have experienced an application boom. The main reasons for this boom, as described by Jones, are the increase in population, the increase in college-bound students and the increase in applications per student-40 percent of students polled stated that they had applied to nine or more colleges.There just aren’t enough spaces available at “Ivy League” universities to accommodate a given year’s brightest students and the Newsweek/Kaplan guide hopes to point out other options that are just as competitive as the Ivies and have as much to offer.As a result of this new guide, “There will be some people who will take a look who might not have otherwise,” Ross predicted, “but in the end, what will influence prospective students is our outstanding faculty, terrific students, excellent facilities, beautiful campus and the opportunity to explore in and out of the classroom. Those are the factors that really count.”Ross was happy that Colgate has been noticed for its tradition of excellence, but insists that its superior reputation has existed all along. Ross and the Admission Department do not believe that the department should run its operations with the goal of pleasing the ranking books. “We have to do what is in the students’ best interest. Any college doing otherwise is making a sad mistake,” Ross said.Jones agreed, saying, “Being on the list doesn’t make Colgate a great school. Being a great school makes Colgate on the list.”Every year around this time, there is a frenzy for college information and rankings. “When rankings come out,” Ross said, “They are generally not scientifically developed with any degree of accuracy.” He discouraged incoming students from using rankings as a way of choosing a college. Instead, he said, students should come to Colgate, sit in on a class and feel for themselves what made this school superb long before the Kaplan/Newsweek ranking came out.