Did you know Texas A&M is the fifth best university in the entire country? Yeah, neither did we.
That is, until we stumbled across Washington Monthly's Annual College Guide. After years of tearing apart the U.S. News rankings (one of the media's favorite pastimes), editors at Washington Monthly decided they could make a better list, one that wasn't based on just stuff such as SAT scores and alumni giving.
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So they developed criteria that would show which schools were making the country a better place, based on social mobility (e.g., Pell Grants), fostering research and national service, along with a host of other data. That's how Texas A&M came up fifth. In the guide's own words:
Sure, for some of us, Texas A&M evokes imagery of the weak being forced into a locker by the strong, but that doesn't change the numbers. At 60th place on the U.S. News rankings, Texas A&M may not be celebrated, but few other schools can compare when it comes to churning out great engineers and scientists in high numbers. It has a healthy level of ROTC enrollment, and it uses federal work-study money towards community service. Texas A&M thus breezes to fifth place on our list.
That puts A&M ahead of Cornell, Yale, Stanford and virtually every other university you've ever heard of. That's right. The Aggies are making the world a better place. Give them a few more years and Texas will be nothing but tailgates and custom beer pong tables. Say it with me: Howdy!
If you're a junior in high school, expect to see this ranking on every piece of mail the university is ever going to send you, especially because they destroyed other Texas schools. The University of Texas at Austin came in 17th; Rice University was 26th; Baylor was 133rd; and the University of Houston clocked in at ... 208th. Rowr! -- Ray Hafner