Eat your heart out, Harvard. You’re not as good as Northern Kentucky University.
It may seem like an embarrassing admission to make in a magazine that produces the world’s most influential international university rankings, but I mistrust academic league tables: I can never convince myself that there are suitable criteria for comparisons of value. I cannot bear to read the listings because rich, old and prestigious institutions exert routine, predictable preponderance. Of course, Harvard University is insuperable for wealth, recruiting power, research funding, social cachet, networking opportunities, quality of plant and for the size of the library. But if we shift focus and ask how much difference an undergraduate education at Harvard (or Yale or Princeton or Stanford or Oxford or Cambridge or any of their elite lookalikes) makes to most of their students’ lives, we have to acknowledge that it probably doesn’t amount to very much.