The College Ranking Service employs immensely complicated algorithms in its effort to separate the wheat from the chaff in the academy. We've employed a crack team of physicists, psychologists, and cabalists to devise methods that will stand the test of time and are recognized in the ranking industry as the gold standard of higher education evaluation.

Through elaborate meta -analysis that took place over several years at a cost equal (in 1944 dollars) to the Manhattan Project, we identified 629 independent factors (cabalists on our staff note that this number is the numerical equivalent of the words "Torah" and "life" combined, and believe we have identified the Holy Grail, so to speak, of higher education) contributing to the quality of a college.

The staff of CRS consists of geniuses trained at the finest universities in the world. The methodology involved is so complicated that it defies explanation.

For the technically inclined we note that the 629 independent factors identified are embedded in 1,536,430,211 partial differential equations that must be solved simultaneously. We solve these equations on the "CRS Mighty Max," the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

The Kanaydel Effect

In the course of developing our methodology, we found that our rankings had unique properties. First, we noted a phenomenon well known in particle physics, but unheard of heretofore in ranking systems: a college, like a subatomic particle, could be two or more places at once. In other words, individual colleges could have multiple rankings!

Second, we noted the well known and by now passe Heisenberg phenomenon in our rankings: our rankings were influenced by our evaluation. The more we looked at them in great detail, the more variability we saw. Finally, we found a butterfly effect: small perturbations in our extensive data base resulted in significant changes in our rankings.

The combined influences of these phenomena we term the kanaydel effect in honor of the Director's mother's Passover matzah balls, which even though they were made at the same time, had a wide range in density (from that of cotton balls to that of granite pebbles). In Yiddish, the word for "matzah ball" is "kanaydel."

Because of the kanaydel effect, we note that our rankings are not static. Hitting the refresh button on your web browser will cause the Mighty Max to recompute the rankings, resulting in a slightly different order.

While this may seem confusing, we are just being honest. We will not sacrifice integrity for false simplicity. We note that year to year variability in rankings is embedded in inferior ranking services provided by major magazines. Their variability is a cheap imitation of our own.