Friday, Aug 22, 2014 07:47 am est

Students, faculty question NYU-Poly’s ranking as school for ‘math whizzes’

Posted on October 23, 2013 | by Anjana Sreedhar

Courtesy of NYU Poly

Business Insider, in partnership with data website, released a study about the top 10 universities for “math whizzes” Oct. 17, with the Polytechnic Institute of NYU ranking eighth. The study purposely chose schools that have a large disparity between the average SAT math and critical reading scores, and NYU-Poly had a difference of 70 points between math and critical reading scores.

Ben Taylor, marketing manager at, explained the reasoning behind the study’s methodology.

“Many high school students excel in a few subjects, while struggling in others,” Taylor said. “We see a lot of our users interacting with the slider filters in our college comparison. The thinking is, ‘if I’m a math whiz, but I have a low critical reading score, why should that limit me?’ The research tools on FindTheBest allow you to form a custom list very quickly… in this case, based on your test scores.”

Taylor said FindTheBest users perform this same comparison when looking at options for other areas, such as smartphones and dogs. He said the list was not meant to be a list of the top schools for mathematics.

“The list is not a good representation of the nation’s very best math schools,” Taylor said. “It is a good representation of schools you might consider if your SAT math score is considerably higher than your critical reading score.”

Professor Deane Yang, who teaches mathematics at NYU-Poly, said the study was inane and undeserving of attention.

“It is a clear sign that the overuse of SATs to judge students has gone well beyond what I could have ever imagine,” Yang said. “Here at NYU-Poly, we are more proud of how our students, whether they have high SATs or not, are extremely dedicated and hardworking students.”

Yang said he was disappointed with the study despite NYU-Poly’s strong placement on the list.

“Despite our high ranking, I don’t want either NYU-Poly or me to be associated with this article, since it would only make it seem that we think the article is worth commenting on,” Yang said.

Yang noted that NYU-Poly students take extremely demanding courses that can provide them with real future opportunities that they might not otherwise have had. He said many students at the school came from underprivileged families and did not necessarily go to high schools that prepared them for college.

Yang suggested that students looking at colleges should consider the potential financial return of attendance. He preferred a study conducted by PayScale, which ranked NYU-Poly third overall on the list of schools with the highest returns on investment for students.

“A rigorous college education like the one [students] get at NYU-Poly really does provide them with real future opportunities that they would not have otherwise,” he said. “So they fight to overcome the challenges they face at NYU-Poly and persist despite setbacks they encounter along the way.”

NYU-Poly sophomore Wells Santo, who is in the bachelor of science and master of science program majoring in computer engineering at the undergraduate level and computer science at the graduate level, said the school did not fit into the “math whiz” stereotype.

“A select few of our student population does hate, and is bad at, math,” Santo said. “The math requirement for computer science only goes up to linear algebra … Most courses tell you to ‘plug and chug,’ which I don’t think is something a ‘math whiz’ would do.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 23 print edition. Anjana Sreedhar is a contributing writer. Email her at 


  • aphetic

    The Polytechnic Institute offers math courses that are tough.There is no plug and chug for the most part, which I believe the sophomore student is grossly wrong. And yes, Comp Sci do take “only up to linear algebra”. But he is wrong again because his assumption regarding the order of math classes is incorrect. Comp Sci student takes Calc 1, Calc 2, Discrete 1,Discrete 2, Data Analysis 2, Data Analysis 2, and then Linear Algebra. Other majors take Linear algebra early in there college careers because they have other math courses pertaining to there majors and are in different orders as well.

  • Faraday

    sorry but if you stopped taking calculus at calc2, and then you told an engineer or math major you went on from there to take a lot of higher math classes like data analysis and discrete algebra, they would laugh at you.

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.