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Rankings -- Which are the most trustworthy?

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Replies to: Rankings -- Which are the most trustworthy?

  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 7,959 Senior Member
    Churchill- do you hire for a living? And do you have a law degree or MBA?
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    JD MBA. I do interview a lot.
  • eiholieiholi Registered User Posts: 312 Member
    Remember the New York Times reporting everyone was talking about 4 weeks ago on CC (see link below)?

    I looked at the chart of family income vs student income at age 34. For the 12 Ivy Plus schools (Ivy + S.M.Chi.Duke), the highest student median income goes to MIT, followed by Penn and Princeton, with UChicago in the distance last place. I was surprised.

    As to what ranking is the best, I think any ranking will let you pick a segment of 30-50 schools to focus on. The rest is irrelevant to a particular kid.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1956644-some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60-find-yours.html
  • illinoisx3illinoisx3 Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    edited February 15
    @eiholi Did the article adjust for cost of living differences by region of employment? For example, if more Chicago grads stay in the midwest, that would make a big difference, as salaries tend to be lower than on the coasts. Plus, Chicago lacks various high-paying undergraduate majors in engineering and business that might affect overall salary results based only on a 4-year degree.

    @chrchill My son was very interested in Berkeley, until he toured. Of all the campuses we visited, he thought it appeared more run down and less well kept, and the tour was not impressive to him in general. Plus we heard mostly negatives- about budget crunch, class availability, housing shortage... He decided not to apply. Maybe that's how they weed out anyone who doesn't already love Cal?
  • eiholieiholi Registered User Posts: 312 Member
    ^ UChicago is a great school. I merely pointed out its position on the graph. I expected to see Stanford high but it's in the middle. BTW I don't think statistics applies to a particular individual student, so I don't read too much into it.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    @eiholi & @illinoisx3: Note that the U of C takes a greater percentage of low income kids than Ivy Plus peers and also that the US has intergenerational socioeconomic mobility that is more comparable to third world countries than OECD peers these days.
  • ARTCCARTCC Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    For our D's college search, we found the Forbes magazine college rankings the most useful. Unlike most other rankings, it also provides an assessment of the financial health of the colleges and universities. In our opinion, a college that is financially sound and highly rated for its financial health is much more likely to offer more generous financial aid than a college that is struggling financially to meet its operating expenses.
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 9,664 Senior Member
    Proof that individual spots do not matter as much is that Princeton has been ranked #1 for years and Stanford has not entered the top 3 since forever and yet Harvard, Stanford are considered the top schools nowadays. Nowadays most people know that Stanford is a stronger school than Princeton (or Yale).

    Stanford has several features going for it that may be influencing current perceptions. First, it's one of very few top private research universities west of the Mississippi. Second, it has strong engineering and CS departments at a time when they are increasingly popular due to the innovation (and salary potential) associated with those fields. Third, it has stronger athletic programs than many other "elite" colleges. For these reasons, it's understandable that it would place even higher in public perceptions than it does in data-driven rankings.

    At any rate, we're quibbling over a difference between #1 and #5. I can't think of too many cases where I'd look at a USNWR ranking and consider it WAY off (like, 20 positions or more). Reed College (#87 LAC) is one exception. Some CC posters seem to think a few of the public Ivies (like Michigan) are under-rated by 10 positions or more. Others argue that rankings are completely meaningless, for example because universities are too complex to be assigned a single overall rank, or because personal effort (or choice of major) matters much more to your outcomes than your college brand.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    My tiers of ivy-equivalents here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1893105-ivy-equivalents-ranking-based-on-alumni-outcomes-take-2-1-p1.html

    Agree that Reed is extremely undervalued. Also NCF.

    IMO, quibbling over 10 or even 20 places in USNews (outside the top 10 or so) is, IMO, fairly silly. Nobody in the real world looks at schools that way (besides lawyers, who seem rankings/prestige-obsessed).
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 9,664 Senior Member
    USNWR ranks New College of Florida #90 among National Liberal Arts Colleges.
    Other colleges near the tail of the top 100 (in either the LAC or university list) include:
    Hendrix
    Spelman
    Allegheny
    College of the Atlantic
    St. John's (SF)
    Bennington
    Ursinus

    Minnesota (TC)
    American
    Clark
    UMass (Amherst)
    Virginia Tech
    Colorado Mines
    Iowa
    Indiana
    UDenver

    One can find excellent departments, or interesting general education programs, at just about all these schools.
    Iowa for a writing major, Minnesota or CO Mines for engineering, American for IR, Indiana for business, CotA for environmental studies, Clark for psychology: all could be better choices (for the right student) than schools ranked much higher.
  • DadofThree111DadofThree111 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Building on @tk21769 with a specific (and close to home) example: DD wants to study public policy. She also wants to study Russian and keep up with her violin. Indiana, with USNWR's #1 public policy program, a top Russian studies center (one of 16 Title VI centers, one of three 2016 Carnegie $1MM grant recipients and the 7th ranked program according to Russia Direct magazine), and the world-class Jacobs School of Music (where Joshua Bell is a faculty member), certainly offers more to her than its #86 rank in USNWR (#113 in USNWR World) would indicate.

    @Mastadon said it best: "The most reliable rankings are the ones you build for yourself using the raw data from the generic rankings and other relevant sources."
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