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Happiest Students

doctorbdoctorb Posts: 662Registered User Member
edited August 2009 in College Search & Selection
I think this is the list most colleges want to be on. According to Princeton Review:

Brown
Clemson
Claremont Mckenna
Stanford
Bowdoin
Yale
Stonehill
Rice
St Mary's Maryland
Colorado College
UAB
Prescott
Dayton
William & Mary
Whitman
Olin
Colgate
JMU
Duke
WPI

Only two Ivies, and no major large public. Very surprising.
Post edited by doctorb on
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Replies to: Happiest Students

  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    I think this is the list most colleges want to be on.
    I think most colleges couldn't care less about this or any other PR list. I am usually not an Ivy cheerleader, but any of them would crush most of those schools in yield, freshman retention, and graduation rate.
    no major large public. Very surprising.
    I've posted before about how much PR "rankings" change from year to year. They seem to abhor the idea of consistent (or accurate) rankings. Past lists have included publics like UNC, and this one has Clemson.
  • Hope2getriceHope2getrice Posts: 1,154Registered User Senior Member
    basically everybody "in-the-know" knows that these "rankings" are just crap. no one really pays attention to them.
  • gadadgadad Posts: 7,748Super Moderator Senior Member
    I like the PR summaries - I think the "students say" blurbs can be helpful - but my sense is that the N on their surveys of each campus is small, hence the inconsistencies. However, when you consider the amount of influence that just one or two opinions from acquaintances at a party is likely to have on most prospective students, the PR data is probably more representative than that.
  • tk21769tk21769 Posts: 7,377Registered User Senior Member
    I am usually not an Ivy cheerleader, but any of them would crush most of those schools in yield, freshman retention, and graduation rate.

    Here's a comparison of freshman retention rates of some of the Ivies and some of the LACs on the "happiest" list:

    School .....Freshman Retention Rate
    Yale........................99%
    Princeton.................98%
    Dartmouth................98%
    Claremont Mckenna....97%
    Bowdoin...................97%
    Cornell University......97%
    Brown......................97%
    Colorado College........94%
    Colgate.....................94%
    Whitman...................93%

    These rates look pretty close to me. I expect the yield differences would be much greater, but that's not a very good indicator of relative satisfaction among matriculated students.

    As for graduation rates, the Ivies do very well on this score, and some of the LACs above do have much lower rates. I don't know how well that correlates to differences in satisfaction or happiness. Maybe it's because the Ivies accept stronger students, or because they give better financial aid.

    Personally, I'm not too surprised at many of the schools showing up on this list. Bowdoin, Colorado College, St. Mary's Maryland, Whitman, and Colgate are all small schools in beautiful settings with good outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as good academic reputations.
  • kwukwu Posts: 4,759Registered User Senior Member
    I am usually not an Ivy cheerleader, but any of them would crush most of those schools in yield, freshman retention, and graduation rate.

    A school's yield, freshman retention, and graduation rate do not tell the whole story about whether its students are happy.

    Ivy League prestige guarantees high yields, and the perceived social and financial payoffs of having such degrees also ensure high retention and graduation rates.

    I'm pretty damned miserable, but I am going to graduate, alongside 96 percent of my class.
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    kwu wrote:
    A school's yield, freshman retention, and graduation rate do not tell the whole story about whether its students are happy.
    Perhaps not, but a retention rate of 75% looks odd for a happy school.

    I don't have the patience to pull up alumni giving rates, but I'm willing to bet they also contradict the PR list.

    Releasing the COFHE results would certainly be one way to determine student happiness, but unfortunately only Harvard has done so. :(
    tk21769 wrote:
    These rates look pretty close to me.
    Here's the full list of PR schools, Ivies, and top publics.

    Only 6 of the 20 PR schools have retention rates above that of the lowest Ivy and elite public.

    Yale........................99%
    Stanford..................98.3%
    Princeton.................98%
    Columbia..................98%
    Dartmouth................98%
    Penn........................98%

    Bowdoin...................97%
    Brown......................97%
    Claremont McKenna....97%
    Cornell......................97%
    Rice..........................97%
    UCLA........................97%
    UVA..........................97%
    UNC..........................96.5%
    Berkeley....................96.1%

    Duke.........................96%
    Harvard.....................96%
    Michigan.....................96%
    W&M.........................96%
    Olin..........................95%
    Colorado College........94%
    Colgate.....................94%
    Whitman...................93%
    WPI..........................92%
    Clemson....................91.5%
    JMU..........................91.4%
    St. Mary's..................91%
    Stonehill....................89%
    Dayton......................87%
    UAB..........................79.3%
    Prescott.....................75%

    Source: CDS
  • pierre0913pierre0913 Posts: 7,559Registered User Senior Member
    you missed highlighting Brown in red?

    and what's CDS stand for? I think in US News it said that Clemson's retention rate was 89%
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    I didn't highlight Brown or Yale in red since they are both in the PR list.

    CDS is the Common Data Set. Clemson's 91.5% statistic is the most recent available (fall 2007 --> fall 2008). The last time Clemson's retention rate was 89% was in 2006, hence the danger of outdated USNWR data.
  • saejinbillysaejinbilly Posts: 205Registered User Junior Member
    Retention rate is a function of many things. I believe that most freshmen who leave leave for 3 reasons, or a combination of them. Those 3 are academic difficulties, financial circumstances, and unhappiness with university life. Frankly, I think those who leave top universities are more likely to be affected by the third factor than the first two. On the other hand, at some lesser publics, financial reasons are probably a more dominant factor. Even then, you have to consider that some people leave because that was their plan all along, that is, to transfer to a better school.
  • LogicWarriorLogicWarrior Posts: 3,671- Senior Member
    Top schools will have higher retention rates since there is pressure (parents, future salary) to stay at a top school even if you don't like it.

    You can throw out retention rate as a measure for happiest students now.
  • Here_to_HelpHere_to_Help Posts: 734Registered User Member
    Only two Ivies, and no major large public. Very surprising.
    JMU is a large public school. W&M is a medium sized public school...
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    Top schools will have higher retention rates since there is pressure (parents, future salary) to stay at a top school even if you don't like it.

    You can throw out retention rate as a measure for happiest students now.
    ...yet Bowdoin has a higher retention rate than Harvard or Duke. Is it losing fewer students because the "pressure" to stay at Bowdoin is greater than at Harvard?

    As kwu mentioned, there are advantages to staying at a top school, but it is obviously possible to transfer from one to another (e.g. from Columbia to Dartmouth). While freshman retention is only piece of the puzzle, I certainly would not "throw it out."
  • Papa ChickenPapa Chicken Posts: 2,841Registered User Senior Member
    ib-- you have Harvard's cds? (Columbia & Penn, too?) These are 3 of the most secretive/non-transparent institutions around, with no prior CDS release to my understanding.
  • LogicWarriorLogicWarrior Posts: 3,671- Senior Member
    You'd need to adjust for the school's prestige.
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