The rankings are in, and Yale is No. 2 again.
But this time it’s because Yale’s guys aren’t quite cute enough.
At about the same time as U.S. News and World Report placed Yale second in its annual college rankings, Seventeen magazine’s October issue put Yale in second place in its rating of the 50 coolest colleges for a girl to go school.
“For the 16 percent of applicants who get in, Yale kicks ass, especially if you’re a girl,” the magazine writes.
In the magazine’s first-ever rankings, Rice was first, Harvard 19th, and Princeton 22nd.
What set Yale apart from its usual equals in the polls?
A balanced boy-to-girl ratio was an important factor, Mikki Halpin, the deputy editor of Seventeen, said in an e-mail.
Yale’s boy-to-girl ratio is 50-50, Harvard’s is 54-46, and Princeton’s 53-47.
The rankings were the result of a six-month effort which looked at college issues ranging from the scholarly to the mundane.
“Every fall, Seventeen has always done fashion features around back to school, or college style,” Halpin said. “Now that over 56 percent of college students are girls, we felt the time was right for this kind of guide. Over the last few years, we have been doing stories on sororities, dorm room makeovers, etc. Our readers are looking into colleges earlier and earlier, and researching for the right schools for them from 9th grade on. We felt the time was right now for a guide geared toward girls.”
Everything from the criteria to the language of the rankings were tailored to the women, aged 12 to 24, who make up Seventeen’s target audience.
“If Reed were a guy, he’d be that cute loner who skips gym to read poetry in a coffeehouse — but still manages to look fine in jeans and a Strokes T-shirt,” the article said of ninth-ranked Reed College.
Academics, the most important category in the ratings, counted for 40 percent of a school’s score. Second in significance was “cool stuff like shopping and nightlife,” at 30 percent.
Financial aid counted 20 percent and “freedom issues” like transportation and dorm safety were given a 10 percent weight.
Yale scored points for having strong support of women’s undergraduate athletics programs, an excellent cost-to-value ratio, and a strong academic reputation, Halpin said. Seventeen also liked Yale’s shopping system — for classes, not clothes — although the school’s proximity to New York’s shops helped as well.
Halpin said Rice beat out Yale as the coolest college for girls because of its small size, cute guys and great shopping.
Amber Wiley ’03 said she thought second place was appropriate for Yale.
“It’s open, free and liberal, and you can run around and act a fool and nobody will care,” Wiley said.
Diandra Ayala ’03 agreed that Yale does a good job of creating a healthy environment for women to express themselves and not feel constrained by traditional roles. She said that Yale does a good job with its women’s programs, although she saw room for improvement.
And what will Yale’s lofty perch in the Seventeen ratings do for the school?
“I don’t know how many people are going to base their college choices on Seventeen magazine,” Ayala said.