Wow. These are tough days for those of us living in Ohio. Jobs disappearing, housing prices collapsing, state budget in ruin, Cleveland Indians only now starting to play baseball — four months after the season began, and so on. And now we discover that one of our top public universities is not getting the respect it deserves.
Here’s the story. The Princeton Review earlier this week released its annual report of “tops” among American universities and colleges. Top library: Harvard (hehe). Top classroom experience: Pomono College. (Any clue as to what classroom experience means?) Best career services: University of Florida. (Particularly if you can run with a football and chew gum at the same time. I digress.)
But here comes the big one: top party school. And the winner (drum roll please) is — Penn State.
And Ohio University places fifth. WTF
Anyone who has ever spent some quality bar time on Court Street in Athens, Ohio — or has supported a son/daughter during his/her tenure there — knows this fifth-place ranking is bogus.
Harvard on the Hocking it ain’t.
And OU can’t match up with the Nittany Lions on the football field.
And I don’t know for sure whether students at OU would have any trouble out-partying or out-beer-drinking those in Happy Valley. But OU certainly has a strong reputation here.
Wonder if that addendum to an OU degree helps or hurts those looking for jobs these days?
Of course, this presents the administrative suits at OU with its annual dilemma. How do you convince parents, employers and others that the university really does offer an excellent education — when its reputation as a party school dominates?
I expect that’s a dilemma that consumes plenty of time and money at OU and many other colleges and universities these days.
And it points to the fact that reputation matters — and it’s hard to change once established, justified or not.