May 14, 2013, 3:11 pm
U.S. News & World Report has moved York College of Pennsylvania and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to its “unranked” category after learning that they had submitted inflated admissions data, according to a blog post on Tuesday by Robert J. Morse, the magazine’s director of data research.
A number of cases of misreported admissions data have surfaced in recent months, including Dominican University of California’s announcement that it had included incomplete applications, making it appear more selective, in data it sent to the U.S. Department of Education.
Officials at York College of Pennsylvania and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, in Texas, each advised U.S. News that they had reported inflated data. In both cases, the inaccuracies resulted in the colleges’ receiving higher rankings than they otherwise would have.
As it has in other cases when revised data would…
February 19, 2013, 5:00 am
This weary planet might not need yet another set of college rankings, but new models keep popping up. The latest is a rating of colleges based on their “desirability,” as determined by the choices applicants make.
In a new paper published by The Quarterly Journal of Economics, four researchers propose a method of ranking colleges according to students’ “revealed preferences”—the institutions they choose to attend over others that have accepted them. Using survey data from a national sample of high-achieving students, the researchers determined the winners and losers of each applicant’s “matriculation tournament.” They then used those outcomes to rank about 100 selective colleges. (Harvard University topped the list, but you already knew that; the University of Notre Dame nearly cracked the top 10.)
This model enabled the researchers to approximate the odds that an applicant…
November 16, 2012, 12:25 pm
George Washington University’s rank in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 college guide would have been lower if it had submitted accurate class-rank data, according to the man whose calculations form the annual list of “Best Colleges.”
In a blog post on Friday, Robert J. Morse, director of data research at U.S. News, explained why the publication moved George Washington to the “Unranked” category this week. In cases of misreported data, U.S. News conducts a statistical simulation to determine what a college’s rank would have been if the correct figures had been used.
If a college’s rank would have been lower “even one or two spots” than its published rank, Mr. Morse wrote, U.S. News removes the college from the list until the following year’s edition is published. He did not specify how much lower George Washington’s rank—No. 51 in the latest edition—should have been.
September 12, 2012, 12:01 am
College counselors have been known to criticize U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings, but some continue to participate in the annual exercise. The 2013 edition of Best Colleges, released today, includes ratings by approximately 300 counselors at public and private high schools.
This is the third year in a row that U.S. News invited counselors to have a say in the rankings, and they apparently have become a permanent fixture. In 2010 U.S. News first included counselors’ ratings of colleges in its measure of “academic reputation,” which critics have likened to a popularity contest.
Previously, U.S. News surveyed only college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans to calculate that measure, which makes up 22.5 percent of a college’s ranking over all. College officials’ ratings count 15 percent; counselors’ ratings count 7.5 percent.
In calculating the counselors’ …
August 27, 2012, 12:30 am
Washington Monthly doesn’t rank colleges the same way U.S. News & World Report does. That’s why the University of California at San Diego tops its list of national universities, and Harvard University comes in at No. 11. Take a deep breath, ye proponents of prestige.
Since 2005 Washington Monthly has ranked colleges using methodology derived from this question: What are colleges doing for the country? (It’s a better question, for sure, than “What’s this college doing for my ego?”) The magazine’s rankings include a ”social mobility” measure, which rewards colleges that enroll many low-income students and have better-than-expected graduation rates.
This year, that measure has a new dimension: price. “Colleges that are both effective and inexpensive get the highest marks,” the magazine’s editors write in their introduction to this year’s college guide. (See their note on…
August 20, 2012, 2:02 pm
When the Princeton Review’s college rankings arrive each summer, I’m always overcome with a feeling of awe. Or maybe it’s fatigue.
After all, colleges are now rated—by someone, somewhere—in a zillion different categories, and the Princeton Review’s hefty tome is a symbol of civilization’s endless lust for lists. This year the guide—The Best 377 Colleges—includes a new category, “Their Students Love These Colleges,” that measures students’ satisfaction with their institution (you’re No. 1, Claremont-McKenna!). But don’t confuse that category with the “Happiest Students” list, which is drawn from a question about students’ “overall” happiness.
The above distinction suggests that contentment in life and contentment with your college may, in fact, be two entirely different things. It’s almost as if who you are matters more than where you graduate from. But I digress …
August 13, 2012, 1:26 pm
In case you missed it, Newsweek and The Daily Beast have unleashed their college rankings upon our status-obsessed nation. For these inspired offerings, we should all say, “Thank you!”
I, for one, don’t know how to express my gratitude for the list of “25 Most Beautiful Colleges,” drawn from “metrics on the campus aesthetics and the weather,” as well as from ratings on the attractiveness of students. If you don’t know what the “comfort index” is, I can tell you that it has something to do with humidity, which, apparently, diminishes the desirability of a campus (perspiration, it seems, isn’t pretty).
And wouldn’t you just know that scenic Stanford University would top the list of “Happiest Colleges”? Selectivity, sunshine, and satisfied customers? Some colleges have all the luck.
While you’re pondering the lists, be sure to read this excellent blog post by Dan Bauer,…