Jack Taylor and Grinnell

Jack Taylor scored 138 points in a single college basketball game on November 20, shattering the previous single game record. If you type “Jack Taylor” into Google, a salvo of links questioning the legitimacy of the record will assault you. I have myriad views on the legitimacy of the record, but I’m just glad to get Grinnell into the spotlight.

I’ve worked with primarily California based high school students the past few years, and have been dismayed by the fear that my students have of the middle of the US. One of the reasons I like broadcasting diverse rankings is that the dominant US News form inappropriately and inaccurately markets a certain model of school. And while a school like Grinnell absolutely succeeds in the US News methodology, the separation of “National Universities,” “Liberal Arts Colleges,” and “Regional Universities” leads many to disregard anything that’s not on the same list as Harvard.

This is not to cast blame at US News. That organization’s specific bias, their choice of which statistics approximate quality in a university, require for the sake of accuracy that these schools be separated. In fact, US News’ ranking would be much more accurate if they chose to divide it into further categories. But in the end it’s all a choice, and certainly not objective.

Coming back to Jack Taylor, he plays basketball for Grinnell, which is the academic peer of any elite undergraduate institution in the world, and many students, especially those for whom rural Iowa would expand cultural horizons (read: everyone on the coasts or in a city), would prepare themselves for incredible levels of success by targeting Grinnell, not as a safety choice, but as the elite top private school that it is.

And for those who want to see Grinnell on the same ranking as Harvard, check out the leading undergraduate institutions for producing PhDs, which one could easily argue is the single best indicator of intellectual development at the highest level.

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