Fall 2011 High School Model UN Rankings: Top 6-10

by KFC on December 18, 2011

Horace Mann is one of the top teams in the nation

Which high schools have the best Model UN team in North America? We devised a rankings system that answers this question in order to recognize the top teams on the circuit for their accomplishments.

Please read the 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, and our methodology.

With that said, here are the top 6-10 Model UN teams in North America! All of these teams have already won a best delegation award and are among the top teams in the nation this Fall.

Fall 2011 High School Model UN Rankings: North America Top 6-10

6. Horace Mann School (New York)

If we had to pick one team to win one-time competitive, head-to-head matchup, Horace Mann might be it. Horace Mann is one of the best teams in the nation right now after winning Best Large Delegation at the most competitive conference of the Fall according to our methodology, Princeton PMUNC. The team also snapped rival The Dalton School’s multi-year unbeaten streak in the process. Horace Mann places sixth for now as the five teams ranked above it have all won at multiple conferences already while Horace Mann has only been to one, but it will have many more chances to contend for top-rank status when it travels to neighboring Columbia CMUNCE, U.Penn ILMUNC, and Georgetown NAIMUN. The team also hosted HoMMUNC, the largest high school-hosted conference on the East Coast, earlier this Fall.

7. St. Ignatius College Prep (Illinois)

The Midwest doesn’t have many conferences in the Fall (and overall for the year) but St. Ignatius is doing something about it — they started their season by hosting their own conference, SIMUN. The team then competed at the MUNDO-hosted Chicago CIMUN and came away with the Best Large Delegation award ahead of their Chicago-area rivals. We’re unsure if the team will stay in-region or travel like they did last year (where they won Best Large at Columbia CMUNCE) but either way, they will be a team to watch. St. Ignatius is advised by Diane Haleas-Hines.

8. J.P. Stevens High School (New Jersey)

J.P. Stevens also started its season by hosting its own conference, JPSMUN. The team then geared up for an out-of-state conference and traveled to Virginia VAMUN where they defended their Best Large Delegation award in dominating fashion — the team took home 11 of 21 gavels available. This out-of-state trip has paid dividends as J.P. Stevens is currently our highest-ranked team in the competitive New Jersey circuit. The team will contend for higher national recognition when it competes at Harvard HMUN and George Washington WAMUNC. J.P. Stevens is advised by Dr. Eugene Geis and Anthony White.

9. Centennial High School (Georgia)

Centennial continues to be one of the strongest teams from the Southeast. The team won Best Delegation at the Southern United States SUSMUN conference and placed third at an increasingly competitive Georgia Tech GTMUN. The team primarily participates at in-state conferences but teams around the country will recognize them when they travel to participate at Nationals NHSMUN (Centennial won a delegation award there last year). Centennial is advised by Eric Medwed.

10. Gulf Coast High School (Florida)

Gulf Coast is only in its second year traveling out-of-state but it has set itself up nicely with a travel schedule that touches different regions of the United States: East Coast (Columbia CMUNCE), West Coast (UCLA BruinMUN), the Southeast (Georgia Tech GTMUN), and its home state of Florida (Florida GatorMUN and Florida Gulf Coast’s SWFLMUN). Gulf Coast, which features a team of mostly underclassmen, won Best Small Delegation at BruinMUN and placed 4th at GTMUN. Those results enabled it to jump up to the top 10 — Gulf Coast is the highest newcomer in the rankings. Gulf Coast is advised by Susan Soulard and Marsha Layne.

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Check out the top 11-15 and 16-25!

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Congrats to all the teams! Keep in mind that this ranking is intended to measure competitive success during this Fall only. Many teams have not had the chance to participate at multiple conferences, at a large conference, or even at a single conference yet and there are many conferences to come. Good luck with your preparations and enjoy winter break!

  • Anonymous

    If Horace Mann is so good, why rank it 6th. The fact that they have attended only the most competitive conference of the fall and won best large delegation at it should already put them in the top 3. How can you rank “St. Ignatious Prep” 7th, when they only won at some small chicago conferences, whereas horace mann won at the most competitative conference of the fall?

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

      Please read our methodology article: http://bestdelegate.com/high-school-model-un-rankings-2011-2012-purpose-philosophy-and-methodology/

      It explains what we value in a Model UN team and how our rankings are calculated. Remember that our goal is to grow the Model UN circuit and thus we value teams that are able to attend more conferences AND perform consistently across them.

      To summarize, our rankings add scores from different conferences together. Horace Mann has the highest single score, but there are teams that have higher total scores and that’s what our rankings reflect. Winning at one conference — even the most competitive conference — doesn’t automatically make you the highest-ranked in the circuit.

      St. Ignatius won Best Large at CIMUN. That conference has about 1,000 delegates which is slightly smaller than PMUNC and had many of the good Chicago-area teams like Chicago Lab, Highland Park, etc. I don’t think that’s considered a “small” conference.

  • Anonymous

    What did St.Ignatius Prep do to be in the Top 10 (Let alone, Top 25)? Many schools are hosting their own conferences, but I wasn’t aware that that was in your methodology, as hosting a conference is more or less irrelevant to performance on the circuit. Is it safe to say that these Fall rankings, therefore, are more or less a speculation?

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

      St. Ignatius College Prep won Best Large Delegation at CIMUN. I’m not sure why readers keep missing that? Hosting conferences is just part of the narrative to explain what a team has done this semester besides competing and is not taken into account in the methodology.

      • Anonymous

        My apologies, I admit, I did not see that. That would deserve them a place in the Top 10 (No offense to the school or anything, I simply did not see that). In my opinion, though, the methodology still needs to be worked out a little bit further. Horace Mann, as I will say now and I’m sure many will continue to say, deserves to not just be in the Top 5, but to be #1. They won Best Large at the Most Competitive Conference of the Fall, and I’m really at a loss for what any other school might have done to top that. The fact that they ended Dalton’s streak, and yet, Dalton is still ranked ahead of them, is a testament to how these rankings are, as of now, fundamentally flawed. That being said, we’re lucky that it’s only fall, and you have time until the final rankings. I see that these rankings are also a bit of a prediction, but for the final rankings, I sincerely suggest that you fix the methodology for situations like these. Schools like Horace Mann who work hard for a triumphant victory should not be reflected in the rankings in this way, it just doesn’t seem fair.

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

          I see your point, but we have to keep the formula consistent across the season. I’m pretty sure we’d see a firestorm if we changed the formula for Fall and for the entire year.

          In support of your argument though, I think the bigger issue here is that we’re using an arbitrary cut-off time, which is the end of December, to publish these rankings. Teams don’t choose conferences for just the Fall; they choose them for the entire season. Horace Mann happened to only have 1 fall conference while a school like Dalton had two. Obviously the number of scores will get equalized at the end of the season, especially since we’re capping the number of scores at four.

          But I’ll argue for the opposite side for a second. HM won at the most competitive conference. But this is a national ranking and one conference doesn’t qualify as national. What about all the other teams around the country that HM didn’t beat this Fall? Why would they think it’s fair that just because they didn’t attend PMUNC makes them less qualified to be a good team when they’ve won consistently elsewhere at multiple conferences that were slightly less competitive than PMUNC? Also, HM beat Dalton head-to-head, but as we’ve learned from doing college rankings, head-to-head results don’t mean much because teams beat each other all the time; total performance for the season is a better indicator for success. Finally, I understand rankings in the traditional way the word is interpreted can be meant to be predicative but that’s not the case here. We’re merely rewarding for Fall performance and we expect rankings to change as teams attend more conferences in the winter/spring.

          I’m open to suggestions that allow us to keep the same methodology throughout the season.

          • Anonymous

            Alright, thanks for your response. I strongly support the decision to cap the scores at 4: that really balances the playing field. Public Schools just don’t have the infrastructure to go to over 4 conferences, which is why this move is great. I look forward to your rankings to come–but I just want to make a simple suggestion: don’t make such a big deal out of these seasonal rankings. If we make a comparison to college basketball, rankings throughout the year are dynamic, ever changing, and based on matchups. If you have a simple list of schools just to know where everyone’s at, and then a massive compilation, in epic-fashion like your usual rankings, at the end of the year, that would be more effective in my opinion.

            Thanks for your responses, and regardless, I support what BestDelegate is doing in the end.

            Good Luck to you Guys, and Thanks!

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

            Actually, we don’t want to make these in-season rankings to seem so “epic” — it puts too much emphasis on competition and takes away from the focus on the educational and experiential benefits of Model UN. Perhaps a standing page where we can compile everyone’s accomplishments would be good result of your suggestion.

            Ironically, it’s not the public schools that have issues attending more than 4 conferences. In California, many public schools attend more than 4 conferences and some attend almost one a month. The big difference is that they have a lot of local, medium-sized conferences to attend.

            That’s what we’d try to push for. If it’s impossible for public schools to travel so often to these national-level conferences, then we’d want our rankings to encourage established Model UN programs to host their own conferences and develop a local circuit to give many more teams the opportunity to participate in the activity. Eventually, these conferences would have significant impact on a region. For example, Mission Viejo and Tustin high schools host conferences in California that are larger than UCLA BruinMUN, and MUNSA in San Antonio is larger than the University of Texas at Austin’s CTMUN.

            The cap of 4 is temporary to level out the playing field. As Model UN expands over the years, we expect to move that cap number up and perhaps eventually eliminate it. The college circuit doesn’t have a cap even though some teams are at a location disadvantage but no one seems to be complaining.

  • jonathan Rubin

    Regarding your methodology (especially in view of the whole HM vs St. Ignatius debate) it doesn’t seem fair to judge schools in terms of the cumulative score of their performance at multiple conferences. Many schools are limited to attend a maximum of say 3 conferences due to the constraints of their school administration. Thus, at this moment in the year they won’t have a top 5 ranking because the few conferences they’ve picked (such as HMUN, ILMUNC, NAIMUN, or NHSMUN) have yet to take place.

    At the same time, I do see you where you’re coming from in that you want to reward the teams that attend more conferences. Perhaps though, in order to level the playing field when creating these rankings, you should divide a school’s total score by the number of conferences they attend. Only then will you have an adequate barometer of what the best MUN teams in that nation are at any given point in the season.

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

      Hi Jonathan,

      Horace Mann and St. Ignatius both only competed at one conference each. Both teams won Best Large. Horace Mann’s conference (PMUNC, 1200 delegates, strong NJ/NY schools) had a higher competitiveness weighting than St. Ignatius’ (CIMUN, 1000 delegates, IL schools) and so it gave Horace Mann the higher ranking.

      Regarding the issues of cumulative scores, we had this discussion in last year’s rankings when teams in states that don’t have many MUN conferences (think Colorado, South Carolina, etc.) complained that it’s not fair. Ironically, the rich prep schools also complained it’s not fair because they’re limited to 4 or less conferences a year. Therefore, we decided in our methodology to cap the number of conferences we count at FOUR: http://bestdelegate.com/high-school-model-un-rankings-2011-2012-purpose-philosophy-and-methodology/

      I do think it’s fair to use cumulative scores for both the entire season and for Fall. First, this keeps the formula consistent which is really important. Second, this rewards all the schools that did make the effort to attend multiple conferences in the Fall. They simply had a better showing in the Fall and are the best teams at this time. The entire season’s cumulative ranking when you add in NAIMUN, HMUN, etc. will probably look different.

      I see your point regarding dividing the scores up by conference but we do not support that, just like how we do not support using a award-to-delegate ratio for delegation awards instead of just total score (even though most conferences use award-to-delegate ratio). This is because we are fundamentally driven to want to grow Model UN teams. We encourage teams to bring MORE delegates to Model UN conferences so that they can experience it rather than limiting their team because they’re afraid they’ll be at a disadvantageous ratio for awards.

      Finally, I understand the limitations by school administration but that’s exactly what we’re trying to change. We’re helping teams fight the status quo here (assuming they want to attend more conferences). Because teams feel disadvantaged in our rankings with only 3 conferences, they’ll want to start doing something about it. They can either get their teachers/parents to lobby the administration to let the team attend more conferences. Or they can have new members go to other, smaller conferences if it’s based on a limit of 3 trips per student. Either way, it will help promote the growth of Model UN.

  • Briant Gilmour

    Ultimately, I think the real question here is whether or not these rankings are intended to predict which team would come out on top in a given conference. I see the arguments for the current methodology, but if the intention of these rankings is to predict which teams are most likely to win the highest awards at conferences (and I am not certain bestdelegate is looking to create rankings of this nature), then the methodology cannot ignore head-to-head results or consistency of awards if it is to make accurate predictions.

    Are bestdelegate readers expected to be able to use these rankings to predict results of conferences this year?

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

      Hi Briant,

      I think you hit the nail on its head in terms of EXPECTATIONS for the rankings. The way that we have it set up, these rankings are meant to reward current success only. It does NOT predict which teams are most likely to win the highest awards at future conferences. Actually, we used to call these rankings “Standings” which is more accurate of how we wanted readers to interpret these articles. However, everyone just kept calling them rankings so we changed it. Unfortunately, the side effect is that some people see rankings to predict (much like sports rankings) rather than purely measure (like US News college rankings).

      A prediction ranking would most likely yield Horace Mann on top or near the very top but it would unfairly discount of all the achievements that other teams have had in the Fall.

      • Briant Gilmour

        Ah, I see. Would best delegate ever consider making two sets of rankings – standings for the year so far and predictions for the rest of the year? I know the preseason rankings were essentially predictions, so best delegate does have a precedent for making predictions of success. I think predictions would be as popular – if not more popular – than standings already are.

        Also, speaking of Horace Mann, what do you mean by: “If we had to pick one team to win one-time competitive, head-to-head matchup, Horace Mann might be it”?

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

          Well, our high school preseason predictions were popular without too much controversy but we got grilled on our college preseason predictions by teams (particularly those that didn’t like our methodology or believe that we should be doing such rankings without data). Ultimately, Ryan and I are very data-driven given our backgrounds in finance and business, so we prefer to see the data to prove an argument rather than use subjective opinions which I think a prediction rankings might need.

          In terms of “If we had to pick one team to win one-time competitive, head-to-head matchup, Horace Mann might be it”? — that’s basically narrative that says we predict Horace Mann would be #1 at any given conference it attends right now. We’ll see if that’s right when the season resumes after winter break 😉

          • Briant Gilmour

            I take it best delegate does not have the necessary data to make predictions? I.e., no data on the strengths of teams from year to year?

            Thank you for the clarification!

  • Anonymous

    It just seems a bit unfair to penalize a school for giving the opportunity to others to experience Model United Nations debate…If you, as you have stated before in other comments, are trying to promote MUN activity, it would seem only fair to award a school that helps promote MUN activity to students.

    As Kofi Annan once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” If a school awards others these traits, it seems only fair to compensate it for its gift to these students, and above all, to the world.

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

      I’m not sure where we are penalizing schools for giving others the opportunity to experience Model UN. If anything, we are rewarding them by adding up scores from multiple conferences and favoring large delegations over smaller ones. Of course, our rankings have an arbitrary cut-off of Top 25; many other teams deserve to be recognized too for promoting Model UN to its students (and they have, through delegation awards, individual awards, or even just articles in their local newspaper covering what the team learned and experienced over the weekend)

      • Anonymous

        You are penalizing schools for giving others the opportunity to do Model UN because several high schools that hold Model UN conferences cant attend other conferences in the weeks leading up to theirs because they are too busy preparing their conference to be successful for those who attend.

        My point is that you need to take into account schools that give others the opportunity to do Model UN by actually holding a conference. Although you can say that having articles in local newspapers does promote Model UN, having a conference gives the basis for what the team learned and experienced over the weekend. It is a form of “trickle down promotion” if you will, in that the promotion of Model UN starts at a conference, and that the results/experience/learning that occurred after/during the conference are just by products of the conference itself.

        That being said, it is apparent that a lot of time and effort have gone into the methodology used, and if it is deemed that it is only fair to base rankings off of performance, rather than the issue of awareness of model UN (which you raised in a response to Mr. Rubin, by saying that “I understand the limitations by school administration but that’s exactly what we’re trying to change. We’re helping teams fight the status quo here…Either way, it will help promote the growth of Model UN.”) So be it.

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

          That’s a great point that you bring up and it is something we will consider for the future.

          I’ll admit that not counting hosted conferences is currently an existing flaw in both the high school methodology and especially so in the college methodology. In the college methodology, Harvard and U.Penn host the largest conferences and therefore can’t score at their own conferences, so they’re at a disadvantage. The same argument can be applied for the high school circuit. And in addition, we would not be rewarding these programs for hosting a conference (though I’d say we’re not penalizing them).

          I will also say that our current rankings only measure the TRAVEL TEAM’s performance. It does not measure the overall PROGRAM of the school. Perhaps in the future, we would do a separate ranking of programs to reward them for not only having a travel team but also hosting a conference, integrating Model UN to their classrooms, taking students to trips abroad or other educational excursions, etc. The travel team ranking would only be one component of such a program ranking.

          Similarly, we could measure college programs that host multiple conferences, participate in community outreach, and educate its members through speakers and other activities in addition to having a solid travel team.

          Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Anonymous

    In response to those saying that Ignatius has “only won at some small Chicago conferences”…
    Just wanted to point out that not only has St. Ignatius recently won CIMUN (which is not a small conference at all), it was also the winner of CMUNCE last year in New York and plans to win it again. Ignatius has won WUMUNS (Washington University in St. Louis) multiple times, as well as BOSMUN in the past. St. Ignatius is by no means a strictly “Midwest regional” team. Most of their conferences are traveled to-it hosts its own, SIMUN, and goes to CIMUN/sometimes Stevenson. But in 2010-2011 ALONE they have traveled to NY, Washington DC, St. Louis, and even St. Petersburg, Russia and done extremely well.
    Thanks, just wanted to clear that up.

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

      Good to know. Which other conferences will St. Ignatius be attending this year?

      • Anonymous

        Ignatius won Best Large Delegation at CIMUN and WUMUNS already this year, and will also be going to NYC to win Best Delegation for the 2nd time, California for the first time, and Washington DC. Ignatius will be traveling across the globe to a new international destination in summer 2013. Again, it would absolutely be a huge mistake to say that Ignatius is a Midwest Regional team that only goes to 1 conference a year because that is simply not true. They go to about 4-5 conferences a year.

        • IgnatiusStudent

          Actually they are attending 11 this year.

  • Anonymous

    hsghasv

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

      Hello,

      This is good feedback. I’ll address your points:

      1. I mentioned in another reply that one of the issues is timing — we essentially picked an arbitrary cut-off time of end of December when teams don’t choose conferences by just Fall and Spring; they choose for the entire year. So this arbitrary cut-off time has an impact on who gets ranked higher depending on who attended more conferences in the Fall. That said, it would also be biased to make the cut-off date for any midseason rankings to be after HMUN/ILMUNC. Then that’s just favoring schools that attend those two conferences since those conferences’ weightings will outweigh any of the other teams’ Fall accomplishments. I don’t think there’s a perfect time here. Would the solution be to have a page with constantly updated info on awards? Not have midseason rankings at all? As for teams bringing their younger delegates: I think it’s okay that these rankings measure that. We want to measure the entire team, not just their best delegates. That’s also why head-to-head losses don’t factor into our methodology; teams aren’t necessarily at full-strength at every conference.

      2. You’re right — there is no consideration on hosting conferences in this ranking and I believe there should be for some sort of ranking (perhaps a “program” ranking). We’ve had this issue raised in the college rankings but I did not hear it in the high school rankings until now. Again, I don’t see it as penalizing the teams for having to host a conference; it’s not like we’re subtracting scores but merely not adding anything. Nevertheless, consideration should be given to hosting teams. I don’t buy your argument that attending multiple conferences isn’t practical when you’re hosting a conference because we’ve seen it done. Cerritos and Mira Costa are two public schools that hosted a conference in the Fall and attended multiple conferences that involved traveling. Santa Margarita is a private school example of this. Also, some schools host their conferences in the Spring and so the “scoring opportunities” will even themselves out at the end of the season. The big difference is that these teams have grown their memberships to be big enough to support their dual endeavors rather than relying on just a small group of elite upperclassmen. And that’s what we’d want to see — to see the development of individual teams (especially their underclassmen) to be big and good enough to host and travel.

      3. Human element is understandable but dangerous. As soon as we insert subjectivity into the rankings and your team isn’t ranked where you think it should be, then there will by an outcry saying that we’re biased (I mean, this happens already!). I’m pretty sure we’d have a hard time defending subjective opinions and make some well-deserved team upset. Someone also suggested a head delegate’s poll for the college rankings but we all know how biased that would be toward the East Coast where they see the same teams more often and rarely see some really good teams in other parts of the country; the same thing would happen here. Finally, past success is great but I also think that’s unfair to the plethora of up-and-coming teams who’d accuse us of bias toward the “old boys” if we always gave traditional powerhouses a boost. Given our experience observing the high school circuit, it’s not guaranteed that a team remains consistently good year-to-year anyway. If the difference between calling them Standings and Rankings makes a difference, then we’d rather go with data-based Standings.

      4. In our opinion, we’re not biased toward the West Coast despite competing in that circuit when we were in high school. The counter evidence is seen in our work with Best Delegate — we spend the majority of our liveblogging time on East Coast conferences and see East Coast teams more often throughout the season, especially once the major conferences start. Last year we liveblogged 13 East Coast conferences and only 5 West Coast ones. In last year’s Top 25, we had 11 teams from the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT) but only 4 teams from California. Wouldn’t California, which has perhaps the largest circuit with 27 conferences available, think that we’re biased AGAINST its schools? What you will find, however, is that with a much more developed local circuit in California, teams from California will have an advantage in the Fall. Teams on the East Coast will get to balance this out when the biggest conferences take place which outweigh a lot of those smaller local conferences. But nevertheless, we want to reward those teams’ early-season success, and actually we want to encourage through the rankings the development of local circuits in other regions of the United States. As for HM and JP Stevens’ one delegation award over three of Mira Costa’s delegation awards, that depends on how much you value a conference’s competitiveness (i.e. assign it a weighting). We think we’ve weighted the conferences in a fair manner.

      5. Our new methodology states: “Conference Weighting: Every conference is assigned a competitiveness multiplier based on our internal algorithm that takes into account total size of the conference, number of award-winning teams present, the delegate-to-committee ratio, the number of days of the conference, and whether it was hosted by a university/non-profit organization or a high school.” For us, size is now a starting point but conferences will get upgraded or downgraded in terms of competitiveness based on other factors including the number of good teams available. http://bestdelegate.com/high-school-model-un-rankings-2011-2012-purpose-philosophy-and-methodology/

      • Anonymous

        KFC, if the Californian circuit is so competitive as you have said, why is it that schools from the East don’t often travel out west, whereas schools from the west travel out east. It seems contradictory that you say that the Model UN circuit in the West is so competitive, when so many teams from states like California travel to the East coast to attend conferences like ILMUNC,, NHSMUN, PMUNC, HMUN, NAIMUN and I’m sure there are more.

        That is something I would just like to clear up… simply analyzing Model UN clubs/classes/teams trends travel would show that more West coast based clubs/classes/teams travel east to compete in much more competitive eastern conferences.

        That being said, I would also like to point out some Model UN teams are actually classes, and these students receive grades for their participation/ability/etc. Wouldn’t it be fair then to have another separate ranking for classes vs clubs? I think it is apparent that MUN classes have a head start on MUN clubs in that they meet every day, get HW, grades, etc.

        It seems as though the only way to provide effective Model UN rankings is to look at each school holistically, as an admissions committee at a university would do. However, that is just another suggestion to your already improved methodology for Model UN high school rankings.

        I’d also like to thank you for providing a forum for this kind of discussion, and would like to point out that it is unlike any other Model UN website on the internet.

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

          Good question. This could be a bigger analysis article in the future but I’ll give you three quick reasons why teams around the country travel to the East Coast and not vice versa:

          1. It’s very difficult for any team to fly across the country in the first place. First of all, the expenses are much higher (flights, transportation, covering the full costs for the teacher, etc.). Second, the logistical planning and challenges are much more difficult and there’s a lot more pressure for a teacher to manage a bunch of kids flying across the country. School administration may also have requirements for student-to-chaperone ratios (parent chaperones would then need to be financially covered for the trip) or may not approve of such an expensive trip unless it has more educational components to it like a tour of DC or a visit to the UN, etc. which adds more costs and time. Believe me, it’s always much easier both in terms of preparation and execution to attend a conference on your “home court.” I’m sure you can ask any teacher what a financial and logistical challenge it is to bring a team across the country.

          2. Fundamentally, Model UN is supposed to help a team learn about the world. Therefore, teams don’t choose conferences by competitiveness. They choose them by the quality of the experience and the attractiveness of the location/university — and rightfully so. Teams are willing to fly to certain East Coast cities because they’re fun, because the city offers educational experiences (e.g. historical sites in American history), or because they’ll get to visit a prestigious college campus. They don’t look at the schedule and say “we’re going to go to Conference X so we can win and beat Team Y.” And they shouldn’t; that’s not the point of Model UN.

          3. There are not many big conferences available in other parts of the country to justify a trip for the East Coast schools, especially when an equally compelling conference is available locally. Like many readers pointed out, size is not necessarily correlated to competitiveness or quality. There are many small and medium-sized conferences that are actually pretty competitive and well-run. But given the costs (reason #1 above) and the quality of the experience (reason #2 above), many of the conferences around the country just don’t justify the expenses for the East Coast teams. Would an East Coast team justify spending hundreds of dollars to go to a good and competitive conference like Mission Viejo, especially when an equally good conference is available locally? Probably not. The only California conferences I see teams flying across the country to are Berkeley, Stanford, and occasionally UCLA.

          I’ll tell you that the California circuit is very developed. You have several large programs that offer Model UN as four-year classes. You have many high school teams that are developed to the extent that they are able to host their own conference. You have novice conferences once a month to train all the freshmen. You have an advanced conference once a month available for MUN students to participate in. You have travel conferences — yes California is bigger than it looks and it requires flying if you’re going from Southern California to Northern California. And of course you have the option of going across the country or even abroad. Put all these experiences together and you should be able to see the competitiveness and quality of the circuit. With so many local opportunities available, it’s not really necessary for a team to travel to the East Coast unless it wants to for the experience. But because the seniors on these teams want a different experience and because these teams fundraise by hosting their own conferences, they can afford to travel to the East Coast.

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

          Regarding the clubs vs classes ranking — I don’t think there are that many class programs actually. There are just a handful in California and a few scattered around the country.

          If we had to separate rankings, a better division might be large programs versus small programs. In our current formula, a small program will always be at a disadvantage, even if they’re undefeated, because we value large delegation awards more. That value is driven by our desire to want teams to grow. But realistically, some schools have small enrollments and they’ll never get bigger than a small delegation.

  • Anonymous

    Did you guys not read the methodology? I mean it’s pretty clear on how they are going to rank teams, and they did a great job doing this too. These are ONLY fall rankings, not the final rankings. Isn’t that what matters the most? The fact of the matter is, only a few schools have had a chance to compete at multiple conferences, and since they HAVE been successful, they will be rewarded. Horace Mann is going to Harvard, where if they truly deserve to be first, they will re-defeat rival Dalton and other power houses such as Mira Costa (if they don’t dime out of it), Port Charlotte, and Chicago Lab. I commend KFC and the rest of BD for their efforts and consistency in ranking teams according to the methodology they developed. I would suggest that schools who consistently rank work not to be number one, but to be the best THEY can be. Remember everyone, Model United Nations is a program to improve speaking skills and interactions and knowledge of students in both high school and college. So if you guys could please stop complaining because your school isn’t ranked number one that would be nice. There can only be ONE best team in the nation, and it is clear your complaining and condemning of Best Delegate WON’T get you a better fall ranking. Chances are Port Charlotte will be first, but like I stated earlier, these rankings AREN’T the final rankings, where it REALLY counts.
    Thanks

    • Anonymous

      Mira Costa, Horace Mann, and Dalton won’t be at HMUN. Instead they will be at NAIMUN.

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

      Very well said.

      I can tell the difference between a school that “gets it” and one that doesn’t — some schools react enthusiastically when they win any delegation award or place anywhere in our rankings, while others actually react with disappointment when they “only” win an outstanding delegation award or don’t place as high as they thought they would in our rankings. The former group understands that Model UN is about more than just the awards. Also, making the NATIONAL top 25 should be a big honor already. We left out so many teams that won delegation awards this year already who are also deserving of recognition.

      Finally, these are only Fall rankings that are meant to measure success so far. We expect the final rankings to change based on performance at the most competitive conferences.

    • Anonymous

      I could not disagree more with you. People do Model UN for the debate, the rush of adrenaline that a delegate feels walking into DISEC. Working with other delegates to make a comprehensive resolution, consensus building,

  • Ashley Inman

    Hi Best Delegate,

    I would just like to add that Marsha Layne is also an adviser for Gulf Coast High School. 🙂

    Happy Holidays!

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