Fall 2011 College Model UN Rankings: Top 1-5

by KFC on December 19, 2011

Georgetown has won a large delegation award at all three conferences it has attended

Which college Model UN teams are the best on the circuit? We devised a rankings system that answers this question in order to recognize the top teams on the college circuit for their accomplishments.

Please read the revised methodology article first before jumping into the rankings. We clarify in the article our purpose for doing rankings, our philosophy that drives what we value in the rankings, which schools and conferences are included in the World Division (this ranking applies to only this circuit), and improvements in our methodology.

With that said, here are the top 1-5 teams on the college circuit! These teams have continually competed for the best delegation awards, and some of them have won — multiple times.

Fall 2011 College Model UN Rankings: World Division Top 1-5

1. Georgetown University

Georgetown is the #1 team in the nation after winning three large delegation awards at all three conferences that it attended. This includes winning Best Large Delegation at UPMUNC which was the most competitive conference of the Fall according to our methodology. Georgetown rounded out its results with a pair of Outstanding Large Delegation awards at SCSY and CMMUNY. The top three teams have a significantly higher score than the teams ranked below them and they all own head-to-head wins over each other during the Fall, so the 2011-2012 #1 ranking may come down to how Georgetown, U.Chicago, and U.Penn (and possibly Yale if they compete as a large delegation) perform in the Spring. Although Georgetown has a scheduling disadvantage since it hosts its high school conference, NAIMUN, during the same weekend as HNMUN (the highest-weighted conference in our methodology), the team always travels well and will be able to cement their profile starting with McMUN in January. Georgetown is led by Head Delegate Jag Singh.

2. University of Chicago

U.Chicago started its season strong with two Best Large Delegation awards in a row — one at CMUNNY and one at NCSC. There was even a comment that one of the U.Chicago delegates was so good in a crisis committee that she even got people to give up their voting rights to her. U.Chicago then added an Outstanding Large Delegation award at UPMUNC to show that they are consistently one of the best teams on the circuit. The head-to-head result with Georgetown at UPMUNC contributes to U.Chicago placing at #2 at the moment, but U.Chicago will have a few chances to reclaim the top rank when it competes at HNMUN and UCBMUN before ending its year by hosting ChoMUN. U.Chicago is led by Head Delegates Rohan Sandhu and Mrinalini Ramesh.

3. University of Pennsylvania

Don’t be fooled by this ranking. U.Penn was the #1 team according to our methodology before UPMUNC and it landed at #3 behind the two UPMUNC large delegation award winners because they couldn’t compete at their own conference. These road warriors attended a conference every weekend in October and excelled every time. The team placed tied for 5th at CMUNNY before turning it up with a Best Large Delegation at SCSY, a Best Large Delegation at BarMUN, and an Outstanding Large Delegation at NCSC. U.Penn will get to even out the scoring opportunities and go for top rank status when it competes at HNMUN. In addition, the team will attend UCBMUNC, VICS, NYUMUNC, and ChoMUN to give it a circuit-high schedule of nine conferences. U.Penn is led by Head Delegate Roashan Ayene.

4. Yale University

Traditionally, Yale only attends the largest and most competitive conferences, but the team received some criticism of its lofty ranking last year for not participating at the smaller, crisis conferences. Yale responded well to the criticism and upgraded its schedule to include NCSC where it won Best Small Delegation. The team then played to its strengths and added another Best Small Delegation at UPMUNC. Yale can obviously claim to be the best small team on the college circuit at the moment, but is it the best team overall? That will partially depend on if the team decides to go full force as a large delegation at HNMUN this year — it did last year and won big. Yale is led by Head Delegate Victoria Buhler.

5. Harvard University

Harvard is the highest-ranked team that has not won a delegation award yet. Although they haven’t won one, the team has stayed in contention — Harvard finished 3rd at CMUNNY, 4th at SCSY, tied for 6th at NCSC, and 5th at UPMUNC. That consistency puts Harvard in the top five for the Fall. Harvard takes a two-month break from competing to host three conferences — HNMUN Latin America, its HMUN high school conference, and finally HNMUN — before traveling across the country to UCBMUN and ChoMUN. The hosting schedule is what makes Harvard one of the most prestigious Model UN programs in the world, but it also gives other teams the chance to break into the top five while Harvard is on break. Harvard is led by Head Delegates Chris Lehman and Rodolfo Diaz. We also want to note that Rodolfo is one of the best delegates on the college circuit at the moment as he is undefeated with four straight gavels this Fall including one at the ultra-competitive UPMUNC Ad Hoc committee.


Check out the top 6-10, 11-15, and 16-25!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYYVS7OBLJJFDKZ47HOB3VYX3Y Mike

    My thoughts:
    1. Georgetown, 2. U.Penn, 3. Yale, 4. U.Chicago. The rest don’t matter.

    It seems that UPMUNC was the highest weighted conference for only a few of the schools that won delegation awards. The greatest lesson of the fall was brought to us by our fine friends over at MUNTY. Thank you, Yale.

    Yale has essentially shown us how ridiculously easy West Point’s road to elite MUN team status has been historically. Beating cupcakes for a best small doesn’t make you elite, it makes you a 紙老虎. This is, after all, the same West Point team that won a whopping 2 awards at HNMUN last year and still pulled a Best Small Delegation award.

    KFC. Come on now. Seriously? If you are going to say that UPMUNC, NCSC, SCSY, and CMUNNY are the highest weighted conferences, then stick to that formula and be consistent. Otherwise, it does not make sense that Harvard was bested at NCSC and UPMUNC by other schools and it places 5th. Further, your weighting makes ABSOLUTELY no sense when West Point attended 3 domestic conferences and a 4th tier conference at OxIMUN and did relatively nothing. Lets get the facts straight here: They (WP) did not win a team award at SCSY, they barely win a delegation award at NCSC (the 2nd toughest conference of the semester), and are blasted out of the water at UPMUNC (the most difficult conference of the semester according to BD).

    Seriously, how in the hell did West Point pull #3 last year as a small delegation, but Yale is only at 4th place now. Having Yale at 4 with Harvard and West Point at 5 and 6 is ridiculous. What were Yale’s gavel to delegate ratios at NCSC and UPMUNC? Let’s check your logic here: Winning a best small at NCSC or UPMUNC makes you an elite team only when West Point wins such an award. Got it.

    Trend to watch for during the Spring: West Point “magically” rebounds at HNMUN and wins a watered down Best Small Delegation award. Yawn. Also, am I the only one that has noticed that the love affair between Harvard and WP has gotten out of hand?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan


      I’ll comment on a few of your observations:

      1. The formula is the same for all results this year. The teams that won awards at UPMUNC all got a huge boost; teams like William & Mary and Columbia that did not attend fell in the rankings despite solid accomplishments in the Fall. The biggest difference is that the delegation award winners also won a higher proportion of the individual awards. The 4 delegation award winners were also the top 4 teams with the most weighted individual awards. That’s why it looks like they got a big boost at that conference.

      2. This year’s formula is a REVISION from last year’s. Last year, we were doing rankings for the first time and based the rankings on delegation awards info since a) delegation awards is what teams focus on and b) we didn’t have complete awards info from some conferences. However, we eventually noticed that the delegation award winners are NOT necessarily the teams that won the highest weighted score of awards or the most individual awards (actually it was rarely the case). That’s because conferences used an award-to-delegate ratio. Hence teams like West Point winning Best Small with only 2 awards at HNMUN.

      However, our mission at Best Delegate is to promote the expansion of the Model UN activity. We want more delegates to experience Model UN and we encourage teams to bring larger delegations to the conferences without having to be concerned that they’ll have a disadvantageous awards-to-delegate ratio. That’s why the revised methodology uses weighted score of awards as the baseline and only gives a small boost for delegation awards. So now it’s very possible for a team that won more awards to outscore a team that won a delegation award. It fixes the exact issue that you’ve identified.

      You can read the methodology here: http://bestdelegate.com/college-model-un-rankings-2011-2012-purpose-philosophy-and-methodology/

      3. It’s easy to focus on an individual head-to-head loss rather than an entire year’s achievements. Certain teams may not have performed well at an individual conference but overall, their entire season’s results are more consistent than other teams that might’ve done well at one conference. Our ranking makes a balance for winning at the most competitive conferences and for winning consistency across all conferences.

      Regarding your specific examples:
      *Harvard came in 3rd, 4th, tied for 6th, and 5th at the four conferences it went to in terms of weighted score of awards.
      *West Point came in 3rd, 5th, and tied for 6th at the three conferences it went to in terms of weighted score of awards.

      While Harvard’s and West Point’s results may seem to be a notch below the top four, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find another team that have as good results to be ranked #5 and #6 overall.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYYVS7OBLJJFDKZ47HOB3VYX3Y Mike

    Last point. If anything, U.Penn and Georgetown should be tied since U.Penn is essentially being penalized for hosting the toughest and best conference of the fall. UPMUNC was extremely epic this year. Harvard better be on its game. Otherwise, UPMUNC will be able to say they hosted the best conference of the 2011-2012 season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

      Yes, this was an issue that was brought up last year when someone noticed that it’d be almost impossible for Harvard to get ranked #1 because they can’t attend their own conference, HNMUN. We have yet to find a good solution for this. I’m open to suggestions.

      • Anonymous

        You should give points to schools based on the size and quality of the conferences that they host. This will encourage small conferences to grow in size and serve for more than building funds for the conference season. It will also solve the HNMUN and UPMUNC issue. This will only work on a collegiate level, as nearly all colleges have large endowments and access to the necessary facilities to develop and execute a large conference. Most high schools don’t have these resources, so this system could not be fairly applied to them.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

          I like your idea. We want to encourage smaller conferences to grow in size. It’s interesting that you brought up size and quality of the conference as the criteria instead of competitiveness. Originally we contemplated giving hosting teams a constant percentage of their competitiveness weighting (i.e. each conference host would win the equivalent of 5% of the awards or whatever at their own conference). Competitiveness and quality of the conference are obviously two very different things. We’d basically need to devise a new way (a new ranking?) to measure the quality of conference (which I anticipate would be highly controversial at first given the lack of standards on the circuit at the moment).

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.haber2 Alex Haber

    First off, props to BD for putting together these rankings. In the absence of muncircuit.com, you guys basically have a monopoly on the MUN blogosphere and you’re doing a great job so far. I think the rankings, at least at the top, are pretty accurate.

    It’s understandable that G-Town would finish over UChicago based on how heavily UPMUNC is rated, but considering UChicago’s wins at CMUNNY and NCSC, I think it could have gone either way. UPenn is definitely a step below the top two and a step above 4 & 5; it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out with the second half of the year, especially at HNMUN. If UPenn wins, I think a case can be made that we should get bumped to the #1 seed (ignoring the rest of the year). If Yale wins as a Large, then the HNMUN victory along with getting Best Smalls at UPMUNC and NCSC could really complicate things…

    As for factoring in conference hosting, I don’t think this is a good idea. Speaking as a UPenn student, it may seem weird that I feel this way, considering that we host the “fall classic.” Bottom line is that these rankings are supposed to evaluate the strength of the school’s competitive travel team. The prestige of a conference that a school hosts should not impact BD’s ratings.

    However, you guys could definitely put together a rankings system specifically on conferences that builds off of your tier breakdown. Since there’s no gavels/ awards, I think it could be cool to treat each conference like a hotel. The best conferences would be given 5 Stars, mediocre conferences would be given 3 stars, etc. Plus, there’s all sorts of things you could do in terms of the specifics- just like someone might want to spend a weekend at a small, personal hotel, a school might want to attend an integrated crisis conference like BarMUN or NYUMUNC. Also, just like someone might want to spend a weekend in a big city with things to do and lots of people, a school might want to compete at UPMUNC or HNMUN. This “Hotel System” analogy could go on for a lot longer (and it could become really subjective), but I think the idea is clear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan


      I love the hotel analogy. I also think it’d be very valuable for delegates to learn more about these conferences, especially the ones they haven’t been to. I would think such a resource would require us to identify specific aspects of the conferences for delegates to rate & review instead of us just doing a ranking/tiering since the delegates are the ones that experienced the conference.

      On the slightly more controversial side, it would publicly hold conferences accountable to certain quality standards. In the long run, if this helps improve the quality of the conferences (through accountability and sharing of best practices) and gives students who are paying hundreds of dollars a better understanding of what they’d be paying for, then we’re all for it. If every conference that we attend every year becomes a solid conference, then I think we will have made a difference in the quality of the entire MUN experience. The challenging part would be to break down how conferences are reviewed and to determine what the standards or ratings are… and to communicate these metrics to conferences.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alex.haber2 Alex Haber

        I’m glad you’re a fan. Before getting into specifics, it’s important to remember that school’s take a variety of factors into consideration in terms of building their conferences, which are separate and apart of BD’s opinions/ feedbacks of them. Monetary constraints, location, size of the MUN program, etc. are all aspects of a conference that BD could never influence based on a rankings system (and I wouldn’t expect that you would want to try, lol).

        My point is that I don’t really look at conference-based analysis as something that works well with a rankings system. Rather, I think you could have some fun in breaking down conferences so that travel teams could have a bit of a better idea of which they’d want to attend. Parameters could include:

        – Lifespan of the conference (how long it’s been in existence)
        – Size (# of delegates)
        – Location (it might just be because I’m a New Yorker, but there’s no denying that CMUNNY and NYUMUNC have a location advantage over FCMUN…)
        – Type (Integrated crisis vs. pure crisis vs. hybrid (crisis + GAs/ ECOSOCs) )
        – Competition level (how many schools in the top 25 attend?)
        – Highlighted committees (you could preview one or more of the committees to build up hype)

        Just food for thought while I sit at work bored out of my mind…

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

          Agreed. I think for starters we can create a something where we describe or sort all conferences by different parameters. This will be very useful to head delegates who are looking to craft a lineup that features different experiences for their travel team.

          For example, in the “type” category we can do something similar to the Fantasy Committees analysis article that we did (without our opinion injected into it): http://bestdelegate.com/analysis-of-college-conferences-committees-should-delegates-be-outraged-by-fantasy-committees/

          Thanks for the suggestion!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZYNNOPUAGBOPPNBAKM36ZAJ7SQ Mike

    My two cents worth (I am a different Mike):

    1. I definitely think Georgetown is the best team on the circuit right now, by far. They have a good balance of GA, EcoSoc, and Crisis delegates, as shown by their performance at UPMUNC. I was on a committee with Billyskye, and was very impressed by him. I do think they have an advantage because they travel a lot more than teams like Yale and UChicago though. I am not particularly familiar with the ranking methodology, but perhaps rankings could be calculated by averaging every team’s performance at all conferences. That being said, I do think Georgetown has been consistently producing good results at every conference.

    2. UChicago has always been one of the best teams, and I think this year is no exception. I happened to be at CMUNNY, and I know the delegate you are referring to from UChicago. It was Suzannah from the Xian committee, and I believe it was a Georgetown delegate who gave up his voting rights to her. Impressive feat indeed, however, I believe she failed to gavel at UPMUNC. I also think that while UChicago did a superb job at CMUNNY and NCSC, they were one of the only teams that did not take any freshmen to either conference, while teams like Harvard brought teams that had many freshmen. It will be interesting to see how they perform at HNMUN, since that is the most competitive conference.

    3. I think UPenn has been penalized in the fall rankings since, as others have rightly pointed out, they hosted the most competitive conference thus far. That being said, since the UPenn team travels so extensively, it will be easier for them to climb up the rankings.

    4. Outside of the Top 5, I think that West Point is a team to look out for this year. They seem to be improving a lot, especially in Crisis committees.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2505945 Kevin Felix Chan

    I received an email from a reader that brought up good points on the two discussion subjects:

    1. Regarding rating conferences, the quality standards that we’d identify should be very basic things that everyone expects out of a conference (e.g. posting up background guides on time). We wouldn’t impose a view of how a conference should look like in terms of design e.g. what makes it unique like having crisis/fantasy committees or deciding to host on a campus/hotel.

    2. Regarding how to solve the issue of teams not being able to compete at their own conference, the reader suggested that not being able to compete at a larger conference because you’re playing host means that theoretically that hosting team would earn more funds to travel to more conferences which ends up evening out the playing field. Therefore, the status quo is fine.

    By the way, U.Penn isn’t the only school that couldn’t score at its own conference this Fall. Georgetown, Yale, Columbia, BU, Duke, UCSB, and Cornell all couldn’t score at one conference either. U.Penn’s conference just happened to be the highest weighted.

  • Big Lebowski

    I agree- Gtown and UChicago is def #1, but Harvard at #5 is insane. Because Mr. Diaz ends up gaveling does not a good team make (consider as well that every committee Rodolfo is on seems to be the same type- Latin American or National Security related)- Harvard’s performance is widely seen as the worst ever for the team, and they are not a threat to any major team. Competing against some of their delegates this year, I know that most of them have no clue what is happening in committee.

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