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The most Prestigious Universities in the USA

RMLRML Posts: 5,823Registered User Senior Member
edited December 2009 in Graduate School
I compiled the data from USNews and THES-QS to come up with a better ranking of America's most prestigious colleges, and here they are (in order):


30.00 Harvard
30.00 Princeton
29.70 Stanford
29.70 MIT
29.40 Yale
29.10 Caltech
28.70 Columbia
28.70 Chicago
28.10 Penn
27.70 Cornell
27.50 Berkeley
26.70 JHU
26.60 Duke
25.90 UCLA
25.60 Brown
25.60 Northwestern
25.20 Dartmouth
25.10 Michigan
24.60 Washington USL
24.50 CMU
24.10 Uva
23.70 Rice
23.70 Emory
23.60 Georgetown
23.40 Vanderbilt
23.40 UNC
22.80 NYU
22.70 Notre Dame
22.70 USC
21.50 Tufts
21.30 Wake Forest
Post edited by RML on
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Replies to: The most Prestigious Universities in the USA

  • RMLRML Posts: 5,823Registered User Senior Member
    The PRESTIGE rank was derived by compiling data from US News and THES -QS. There were 3 sections for this category with each section having a perfect score of 10, and the lowest, a score of 7. 10 points are the highest points a school can get for each category with a perfect score of 30.00, for all 3 sections. After summing up their assigned points, only 2 schools garnered a perfect score of 30.00 and these are Harvard and Princeton.

    Here are the 3 sections:
    1. US News' Best College Ranking of National Universities - 10 points
    2. THES-QS' Peer Review Scores - 10 points
    3. US News' Peer Assessment Scores - 10 points
  • willmingtonwavewillmingtonwave Posts: 3,344Registered User Senior Member
    So essentially some sort of Peer Assessment/Review counts as 75% of your rankings?
    That seems a bit much. I guess I just do not understand the point of overall prestige of a school. I see validity in analyzing the quality of the undergraduate, business, law, medical, and different graduate programs, but why lump them all together?
    Hatch warns against a “slavish” following of such simplistic and largely capricious measures. He said that the there is “always a danger of chasing fame and success” because ultimately the “goal to chase is the best learning environment.”

    I agree with Dr. Hatch with the sentiment that the best learning environment is the most important aspect to an institution of higher education. (This quote is from: Rankings taken with grain of salt Old Gold & Black)
  • RMLRML Posts: 5,823Registered User Senior Member
    This is just a ranking based on prestige. whilst you don't find it useful, some students do, especially those prestige whores who think attending a more prestigious school is worthier than attending schools that offer a better and more convenient environment. Anyway, all the schools in the list are prestigious schools. Some may appear have more prestige than the others however. Harvard and Princeton are the perfect examples, which both got perfect scores in this area.
  • willmingtonwavewillmingtonwave Posts: 3,344Registered User Senior Member
    I mean, generally I agree with it. I do not see much that seems very wrong if we are talking about OVERALL INSTITUTION RESEARCH PRESTIGE within the INTERNATIONAL REALM. I guess I am just philosophically opposed to such ideas. It is interesting, but I doubt it would be much different if you just ranked it by the USNWR PA...
  • RMLRML Posts: 5,823Registered User Senior Member
    It's not really correct to say this is "research prestige within the international realm". Only 1/3 of the criteria was from THES-QS and even the THES-QS' respondents were American scholars or faculty members who rated universities that they are familiar with.

    As you can see from the result, some schools that did very well aren't exactly research powerhouse institutions (Penn, Duke Brown, to name a few) and some of those that are research-oriented (CMU, Tufts, USC) did poorly.

    Take note also that one-third of the criteria is the USNews ranking result of the Best Undergraduate Colleges, which to my knowledge, is what most teenagers/college students/high schools students nowadays think is the most reliable ranking game.
  • ghostbusterghostbuster Posts: 1,590- Senior Member
    "Prestige whores." You got that right. Happiness, success are not the same as prestige. It is what it is.
  • SchmaltzSchmaltz Posts: 3,114- Senior Member
    Harvard
    Yale
    Princeton
    MIT
    Stanford
    Columbia
    Caltech
    Dartmouth
    Brown
    Williams/Amherst
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,784Registered User Senior Member
    Wiki on the THES rankings

    The Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University has been suggested to be more respectable despite its perceived bias towards the natural sciences.[5] [6] The THE Rankings have been criticized[7] for placing too much emphasis on peer review, which receives 40% of the overall score. Some have expressed concern on the manner in which the peer review has been carried out. In a certain report[5], Peter Wills from the University of Auckland, New Zealand wrote of the QS-THE Ranking:

    "But we note also that this survey establishes its rankings by appealing to university staff, even offering financial enticements to participate (see Appendix II). Staff are likely to feel it is in their greatest interest to rank their own institution more highly than others. This means the results of the survey and any apparent change in ranking are highly questionable, and that a high ranking has no real intrinsic value in any case. We are vehemently opposed to the evaluation of the University according to the outcome of such PR competitions."


    Although THES-QS had introduced several changes in methodology in 2007 which were aimed at addressing some of the above criticisms[10], the ranking has continued to attract criticisms. In an article[11] in the peer-reviewed BMC Journal authored by several scientists from USA and Greece, it was pointed out:

    "If properly performed, most scientists would consider peer review to have very good construct validity; many may even consider it the gold standard for appraising excellence. However, even peers need some standardized input data to peer review. The Times simply asks each expert to list the 30 universities they regard as top institutions of their area without offering input data on any performance indicators. Research products may occasionally be more visible to outsiders, but it is unlikely that any expert possesses a global view of the inner workings of teaching at institutions worldwide. Moreover, the expert selection process of The Times is entirely unclear.

    The survey response rate among the selected experts was only <1% in 2006 (1 600 of 190 000 contacted).


    In the absence of any guarantee for protection from selection biases, measurement validity can be very problematic."

    Alex Usher, Vice President of the Educational Policy Institute in USA, commented:[6]

    "Most people in the rankings business think that the main problem with the Times is the opaque way it constructs its sample for its reputational rankings - a not-unimportant question given that reputation makes up 50% of the sample. Moreover, this year's switch from using raw reputation scores to using normalized Z-scores has really shaken things up at the top-end of the rankings by reducing the advantage held by really top universities - University of British Columbia (UBC) for instance, is now functionally equivalent to Harvard in the Peer Review score, which, no disrespect to UBC, is ludicrous. I'll be honest and say that at the moment the THES Rankings are an inferior product to the Shanghai Jiao Tong's Academic Ranking of World Universities."

    The latest criticism of the QS-THE league tables came from Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics at University of Warwick:[12]

    "This put Oxford and Cambridge at equal second in the world. Lower down, at around the bottom of the world top-10, came University College London, above MIT. A university with the name of Stanford appeared at number 19 in the world. The University of California at Berkeley was equal to Edinburgh at 22 in the world. Such claims do us a disservice. The organisations who promote such ideas should be unhappy themselves, and so should any supine UK universities who endorse results they view as untruthful. Using these league table results on your websites, universities, if in private you deride the quality of the findings, is unprincipled and will ultimately be destructive of yourselves, because if you are not in the truth business what business are you in, exactly? Worse, this kind of material incorrectly reassures the UK government that our universities are international powerhouses. Let us instead, a bit more coolly, do what people in universities are paid to do. Let us use reliable data to try to discern the truth. In the last 20 years, Oxford has won no Nobel Prizes. (Nor has Warwick.) Cambridge has done only slightly better. Stanford University in the United States, purportedly number 19 in the world, garnered three times as many Nobel Prizes over the past two decades as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge did combined. "
  • College YahooCollege Yahoo Posts: 198Registered User Junior Member
    While this list looks about right, Dartmouth/Brown should be higher and Chicago should be lower, there is no way that any school would be equal to Harvard in terms of prestige. Harvard is simply the most prestigious school in the country...no ifs, ands, and buts...
  • sarbruissarbruis Posts: 290Registered User Junior Member
    What exactly is the point of these?
  • willmingtonwavewillmingtonwave Posts: 3,344Registered User Senior Member
    [moved to graduate school forum]
    I found this amusing.
  • pdl2010pdl2010 Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    Wow, Rice should be much higher up than that. A degree from Rice would look better than Michigan certainly, I would presume.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Posts: 9,449Registered User Senior Member
    RML,

    Read barrons' post (#9). THES-QS' Peer Review is not an accurate measure of research power, IMO.

    You should use The Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, as barrons said.
  • tenisghstenisghs Posts: 3,955Registered User Senior Member
    pdl2010, Michigan surpasses Rice in every category at the graduate level.
  • ticklemepinkticklemepink Posts: 2,764Registered User Senior Member
    RML, have you got anything better to do than to worry about the prestige of US universities? To get in is like finding a needle in the haystack. As long people are getting their degrees from top 20-30, they'll survive.
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