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College Ranking

College Rankings

If you've already started thinking about college but still haven't heard or reviewed much about college rankings, view this carefully as 'Ranking' has been considered one of the more ‘controversial’ statistics of the admissions process.

Face it, we as Americans just can’t stop ranking things. What’s the best company to work for, what’s the best car, the best restaurant, the best town to live in? Unfortunately, one of the greatest problems with rankings is really understanding if the criteria used for the ranking … actually fits you!

Even with those faults, and even though many, if not most, college administrators are reluctant to concede, college rankings can serve a useful purpose for parents and students trying to select schools.

Any reputable ‘ranking’ process will come with both detailed criteria used in the rankings and detailed data collected to support their conclusions. One of the most well know is U.S. News and they include a great deal of statistics in convenient tables that allows the reader to perform side by side comparisons of individual schools.

One of the big advantages with these services, and there are others listed below) are that they offer the data all in one place, rather than your having to search a variety of college handbooks, sites, etc. One thing these services also try to do is offer ‘objectivity’ when comparing the schools, something that may not happen when comparing data from individual school materials.

College rankings also have one thing in common: they are lists of schools. As such, they can be of great assistance to students early in the college selection process by being sources of ideas for students and parents.

These rankings also can have a positive influence the behavior of our higher educational institutions. A school that later finds itself ranked lower than its peers, because of such things as a lower retention rate might, for example, increase its counseling, tutoring, and advising services. Similarly, a school might try to break down larger classes into smaller ones if its class size statistics looked unfavorable.

Again, ‘Rankings’ are simply one tool of many that you might want to apply as resource to your Project Plan.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the US News & World Reports findings for 2010:

Top 10 National Universities 2010

This is considered by most to be the most prestigious category in the U.S. News & World Report Rankings … The Top National Universities category. The contenders in this category are so called 'research institutions," or schools that offer undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees and are committed to research.
  • • 1. Harvard University
    • 1. Princeton University
    • 3. Yale University
    • 4. California Institute of Technology
    • 4. Massachusetts institute of Technology
    • 4. Stanford University
    • 4. University of Pennsylvania
    • 8. Columbia University
    • 8. University of Chicago
    • 10. Duke University

Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges 2010

Another category "Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges" is a list of the top liberal arts colleges in the US, and this list of perspective candidates is much larger as U.S. News & World Report define these as schools with an emphasis in undergraduate degrees and a specialty in liberal arts majors.
  • • 1. Wlliams College
    • 2. Amherst College
    • 3. Swarthmore College
    • 4. Middlebury College
    • 4. Wellesley College
    • 6. Bowdoin College
    • 7. Pomona College
    • 8. Carleton College
    • 9. Davidson College
    • 10. Haverford College

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