Fall 2012 North American College Model UN Rankings

by KFC on December 18, 2012

The top teams seem evenly matched this season

Which teams did the best on the competitive college circuit this Fall? There are many definitions of success in Model UN, and awards are not the purpose of Model UN. Nevertheless, they do tell us which teams are doing well and our rankings are meant to recognize teams for their accomplishments at conferences. The methodology is the same as last year with minor modifications in weightings to reflect attendance this year.

Disclaimer: Only teams that participate at university-hosted conferences that emphasize awards are included in the dataset, and we can only use data that is available to us. This ranking is not meant to capture all of college MUN as many good teams participate at conferences that do not value the competitive aspect of Model UN.

All-Star Team

As we mentioned in the Definitions of Success article, we will start featuring an All-Star team. The All-Star Team will recognize sets of individuals from the circuit for making a difference inside and outside of committee during conferences. These are the diplomatic leaders — the true Best Delegates — that are respected by participants from across the circuit. As such, they will be selected through a voting process where teams will nominate individuals from other schools. The All-Star Team serves a larger purpose of strengthening relationships between teams within a community, and we decided this method would be more beneficial and healthier for the circuit than just making a list of the top individual award winners. We will reach out to Head Delegates and also post up the information online when the details are ready to be announced.

Fall Storylines 

The season started out with a doubleheader as CMUNNY and SCSY were hosted on the same weekend, and the divide made it interesting to figure out the top teams early on as they did not go head-to-head. Most teams finally met up during NCSC — which fortunately was not too affected by Hurricane Sandy — and at UPMUNC which was held back on its traditional weekend. Finally, the smaller conferences are starting to grow as more high profile teams are now attending SBIMUN, BarMUN, DISCon, and CIAC.

So which team came out on top? That’s hard to say and honestly it’s a toss-up. Those who are fans of head-to-head matchups would probably declare U.Penn the top team this Fall as they beat every team on the circuit except for once at BarMUN, but they made that up by owning the head-to-head over Georgetown at SCSY. Georgetown and U.Chicago have put in the strongest performances so far, but neither team is dominant and Harvard is close behind. West Point, FIU, and Boston University are the top three in terms of consistently winning or contending for the best small delegation awards. Here’s how the results turned out:

The Top 25

1. Georgetown University

Georgetown barely held off U.Chicago and U.Penn for the top spot this Fall based on aggregate score. Although their Outstanding Large Delegation award at UPMUNC was behind U.Chicago, they actually scored better in terms of raw score (i.e. they lost by ratio which we don’t use in our methodology) so that result basically put those two teams at a tie. Georgetown also has an Outstanding Large Delegation award at SCSY where they finished in a close second to U.Penn, and they’re the only team on the circuit to beat U.Penn when they won the Best Large Delegation at BarMUN. Their overall results were able to keep them at #1. Georgetown will need another dominating performance like last year’s at McGill in order to keep pace with the rest of the teams attending HNMUN. Then again, Georgetown will be making an appearance at a Harvard-hosted conference this Spring — they’ll be traveling for the first time to WorldMUN in Melbourne. Georgetown is led by Dane Shikman.

2. University of Chicago

U.Chicago is very close to the top rank, and it is certainly seen as one of the best teams on the circuit. U.Chicago started the season by winning Best Large Delegation at CMUNNY. Although they did not contend for a delegation award at NCSC, they still finished in the top 10 at that conference. U.Chicago rebounded strongly from that uncharacteristic performance by winning the Best Large Delegation award at UPMUNC, the most competitive conference of the Fall. All these results put it in contention for the top rank, and ultimately the aggregate score placed Georgetown barely above U.Chicago. However, the team will have an opportunity to take command of the top rank when it competes at HNMUN in February. The team will also host ChoMUN in the Spring. U.Chicago is led by Mark Mahvi, Parvathy Murukurthy, and Susannah Wang.

3. University of Pennsylvania

U.Penn traveled to the circuit-high five conferences this Fall and should probably be the highest ranked team based on head-to-head results against Georgetown and U.Chicago. They’re third for now based on aggregate score since the high weighting of UPMUNC helped the top two teams. U.Penn’s resume includes Best Large Delegation at NCSC, Best Large Delegation at SCSY, Best Delegation at DISCon, and Outstanding Large Delegation at BarMUN, and even awards at CMUNNY. The additional victory at DISCon should be beneficial in the long run as U.Penn is not far behind both the top two teams and has almost made up the scoring disadvantage by not being able to participate at UPMUNC. U.Penn is led by Alex Haber.

4. Harvard University

Harvard emphasized training its young team last year, and now that they are ready to go Harvard is having one of its best seasons in recent history. Harvard started the Fall with an Outstanding Large Delegation award at CMUNNY and then followed up with another Outstanding Large Delegation at NCSC. It then ended its season by contending for another large delegation award and finished third overall at UPMUNC. Harvard will be staffing five conferences in the next three months — HNMUN, WorldMUN, HNMUN Latin America, HMUN, and HMUN China — but it’ll be one of the teams to beat when they return back to the circuit. Harvard is led by Timothy Tsai and Rodolfo Diaz.

5. United States Military Academy at West Point

West Point is scoring at the rate of a large delegation right now. West Point received the Best Small Delegation awards at SCSY and NCSC, but their raw scores would have put them at third and second overall, respectively, meaning they would’ve contended for or won a large delegation award if they had qualified for the category. West Point also finished in the top 10 at UPMUNC, and although that is lower than FIU in terms of head-to-head, their aggregate score is better with the higher scores at SCSY and NCSC. In addition to the results in North America, West Point also won the Best Small Delegation at Oxford’s OxIMUN this Fall. Finally, West Point will host WPSC in the Spring. West Point is led by Will Dickson.

6. Florida International University

FIU is probably the best small delegation on the circuit right now. The trophies back that up: FIU has been undefeated at all three conferences it has attended with Best Small Delegation awards at UPMUNC, CMUNNY, and BarMUN. The huge improvement with crisis committees compared to last Fall sets them up nicely for the season, and they’ll get a chance to leapfrog host Harvard and traditionally small delegation West Point during HNMUN.

7. New York University

NYU is flying under the radar right now as the highest ranked team that has not won a delegation award. However, they put in a very strong performance at CMUNNY where they just barely missed out on a large delegation award, finished in the top 10 at NCSC, and had a solid result at UPMUNC. These are significant improvements compared to last year, and look for this team to start contending for more delegation awards. NYU will also host NYUMUNC in the Spring.

8. George Washington University

George Washington’s top-five finish at UPMUNC is more reflective of the power of this team when it is in full-strength than what most teams may have seen from them this year so far. That’s because GW split its team for CMUNNY and SCSY on the same weekend and still did well at both, and they sent almost all Colonial Cadet freshmen to NCSC. GW is one of the most well-traveled teams on the circuit, and that includes a return trip to WorldMUN in Melbourne this Spring.

9. Boston University

Boston University ended last season by winning a small delegation award at ChoMUN, and that momentum has helped propel the team to a two-conference winning streak this Fall with their pair of Outstanding Small Delegation awards coming from NCSC and UPMUNC. BU’s reputation continues to rise as it can now be considered one of the best small delegations on the circuit, and their BarMUN conference is growing in terms of size and competitiveness, too.

10. Yale University

Yale may not be contending for delegation awards yet, but finishing in the top 10 at UPMUNC is impressive given that they’re fielding an almost all-freshmen team. Yale also won multiple awards at NCSC and hosted SCSY to start the season. The team will aim to ramp up quickly as it seeks to defend its Best Large Delegation award at HNMUN and when it makes a return to WorldMUN in Melbourne, a conference they won when they attended the 2011 edition in Singapore.

11. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna is starting to silence their doubters on the East Coast after putting in a top-10 finish at UPMUNC. It’s still the class of the West Coast as it had another dominating performance at SBIMUN en route to a Best Large Delegation award.

12. Rutgers University

Rutgers seems to work its magic best during NCSC as their strongest performance came from that conference again with a top-five finish behind only the four delegation award winners. Rutgers also won multiple awards at SCSY and UPMUNC to strengthen their profile.

13. Emory University

Emory traveled to the second most number of conferences on the circuit this Fall and those trips have paid dividends. The team consistently won multiple awards at each conference, and the scores earned from CMUNNY, NCSC, UPMUNC, and DISCon all added up to a top-15 ranking.

14. Clark University

Clark rebounded immediately after a down year last year when it started its season with an Outstanding Small Delegation award at SCSY. It then finished strong with solid results at NCSC and UPMUNC. Their signature performance is usually at HNMUN, and that’s when we’ll probably find out if Clark is back among the elite.

15. Tulane University

Tulane is having a great season so far and made the most of its backloaded, back-to-back schedule in November. In those two weeks, Tulane finished in the top 10 at UPMUNC and then won Outstanding Delegation at DISCon behind only U.Penn.

16. Stanford University

Stanford put itself on the East Coast map at the beginning of the season with an Outstanding Small Delegation award at CMUNNY. After taking home a few more awards at NCSC, Stanford returned back to the West Coast and captured the Best Small Delegation award at SBIMUN. The pair of delegation awards is a signal that Stanford is rapidly on the rise.

17. College of William & Mary

William & Mary started the season strong with a split team that did very well at both CMUNNY and SCSY. They were in contention for a delegation award at the latter conference. William & Mary ended its Fall season with another solid showing at DISCon. One highlight during their Spring season will be hosting the inaugural &MUN conference.

18. Florida State University

Florida State is back after putting in a statement performance at NCSC. The team finished tied for fifth place right behind the four delegation award winners. They are the highest-ranked team with only one World Division score, so it’ll be interesting to see how high they can climb when they attend more conferences next semester.

19. McGill University

McGill is having one of its best seasons in recent history with solid performances at SCSY and NCSC sandwiching a Best Small Delegation award at CIAC. The spotlight will be back on them when the season returns as they’ll be hosting one of the largest conferences on the circuit, McMUN.

20. Columbia University

After kicking off the season by hosting CMUNNY, Columbia put in consistent performances at UPMUNC, NCSC, and BarMUN and contended in the latter for a delegation award. Columbia also hopped across the pond this Fall to attending University of Cambridge’s MUN conference.

21. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley made sure to take home some hardware at SBIMUN this year and walked away with the Outstanding Large Delegation award. The team also won awards at UPMUNC and attended CMUNNY to supplement its resume. Berkeley will host UCBMUN next semester.

22. Elon University

Elon breaks into the top 25 after an impressive top-10 showing at NCSC and a top-5 finish at DISCon. Those performances put this liberal arts college in company with many big university names, and it may be time to start remembering Elon too.

23. Cornell University

Cornell had a strong start to their season with a successful showing at SCSY. Cornell moved their CIAC conference to the Fall this year and hosted that before returning back to the circuit. The team then won multiple awards at NCSC and UPMUNC to stay in the top 25.

24. Queen’s University

Queen’s University had been hovering right outside the top 25 for a while now and they finally broke into it on the strength of their Best Large Delegation award at CIAC. Although McGill is ranked higher on aggregate score, Queen’s can claim to be the best team in Canada based on head-to-head result.

25. University of Florida

Florida maintains a place in the top 25 with good performances at NCSC and CMUNNY. The team also did well at SRMUN. Florida made their big push last year in the Spring during VICS — will they surprise the circuit again this Spring?

Top 50:

We also want to recognize other teams that did well with several individual awards this year so far. The five teams closest to cracking the top 25 are: Princeton, Vanderbilt, Hofstra, Delaware, and Miami.

  • Bard College at Simon’s Rock
  • Boston College
  • Duke University
  • Hofstra University
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Kutztown University
  • Michigan State University
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Northeastern University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Princeton University
  • Randolph College
  • State University of New York at Geneseo
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Tufts University
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Virginia
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wellesley College

Congratulations to all the teams! Good luck with finals and enjoy your winter break. We’ll see you back on the circuit in the winter and spring!

  • bystander

    Best Delegate has done a great job, as always, of putting together these rankings. But the write-ups for all the teams try to “accentuate the positives”, so to speak. For a number of teams on the list, their placement ought to be a sobering reality check.

    In particular, I was very surprised (before these rankings came out) by how Yale, a powerhouse as recently as the spring, and Columbia (in recent years, the top small delegation besides West Point, and especially good at crisis committees) have fallen. The Yale delegate I competed against at NCSC was by some distance the worst MUN representative of that institution I have encountered, a sign to me that MUNTY’s notorious rigorous selection process has been relaxed. Columbia, for its part, is no longer seen as a serious contended even for small delegation awards.

    All teams go in cycles, but the circuit needs a strong Yale and Columbia, not least because the quality of a conference is strongly correlated with the quality of that school’s competitive team. Yale and Columbia’s decline as teams was associated with what most schools I’ve talked to agree was a decline in the substantive and organizational quality of SCSY and CMUNNY (two of my favorite conferences in past years) this year. As a delegate of a school that is ranked higher than Yale and Columbia, I hope that they turn things around quickly, for all of our sakes.

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