right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We have changed the way we log in on College Confidential. Read more here.

Why is Colby not even listed at all in the newest WSJ Rankings?

virginiamom1virginiamom1 8 replies6 threads New Member
The WSJ College Rankings came out recently, and Colby is not even listed. All of its peer schools, NESCAC and otherwise, are there. Listings are not definitive, but are a helpful piece of information in the process of choosing a school.. Does anyone know why Colby is not included at all?
43 replies
· Reply · Share
«13

Replies to: Why is Colby not even listed at all in the newest WSJ Rankings?

  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    Not much of a fan of rankings-they seem so subjective and arbitrary-but USNWR likes Colby:
    https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/colby-college-2039

    With an acceptance rate of 13%, it's pretty clear that Colby is a very selective school, and that's because it's well known for its students and its academic programs.

    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9175 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    Whoops.

    WSJ / THE ranks the top 600 colleges & universities based on their methodology.

    Bad news: Colby College didn't make the top 600.

    Good news: You may be next in line for an editorial position at the WSJ as this was clearly an oversight.
    edited October 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9175 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    FWIW:

    WSJ / THE 2020 US College Rankings:

    #35 Middlebury College
    #44 Bowdoin College
    #63 Bates College
    #91 Kenyon College
    #111 Colorado College

    Colby College should have been among this mix of schools. Probably between #63 Bates College & #91 Kenyon College. Or between #44 Bowdoin College & #63 Bates College.
    edited October 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 22166 replies234 threads Senior Member
    Colby hasn't made a Common Data Set available to the public since 2015/16. My guess is those doing the ranking had problems getting some data elements.

    Shame on Colby for lack of transparency. What do they want to hide?

    https://www.colby.edu/institutionalresearch/dataset/
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3060 replies55 threads Senior Member
    doschicos wrote: »
    Colby hasn't made a Common Data Set available to the public since 2015/16. My guess is those doing the ranking had problems getting some data elements.

    Shame on Colby for lack of transparency. What do they want to hide?

    https://www.colby.edu/institutionalresearch/dataset/

    The WSJ article is behind a firewall, so don't know their methodology, but I expect most colleges if contacted would give them the info they need (with the exception of Reed!). I have personally contacted many institutional reporting departments, and they tend to be helpful.

    There are a number of schools that don't publish common data sets, or publish incomplete CDSs. Johns Hopkins hasn't published one for awhile either, and I assume they were ranked?
    · Reply · Share
  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1938 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I question Colby's 13% acceptance rate. We received a random email from them offering a free application and stating that they give tremendous scholarships. My son is not a high school senior, has not pursued Colby in any way, and does not have PSAT scores that would attract them. To me, this smells like a rat. It's an effort to increase applications so they can reject students and claim a very low acceptance rate. Sienna College does the same. It's all a game.
    · Reply · Share
  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1756 replies33 threads Senior Member
    Forbes ranks Colby #75.
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 22166 replies234 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    Yes, Colby's "stats" (and the absence of publicly available CDS - how convenient!) coincide with dropping any supplemental essays and application fees. Very heavy gaming going on.

    Here's the methodology on WSJ list - no paywall here:
    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/USmethodology2020
    edited October 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3060 replies55 threads Senior Member
    I question Colby's 13% acceptance rate. We received a random email from them offering a free application and stating that they give tremendous scholarships. My son is not a high school senior, has not pursued Colby in any way, and does not have PSAT scores that would attract them. To me, this smells like a rat. It's an effort to increase applications so they can reject students and claim a very low acceptance rate. Sienna College does the same. It's all a game.

    Colby has a history of implementing policies that tend to increase apps including going test optional (2018), eliminating a supplemental essay (2010ish), as well as charging no application fee (starting 2006ish ?).

    Regardless, it's a very good school, that many want to attend. Colby's class of 2023 admission rate was 9.5%. http://www.colby.edu/news/2019/03/19/colby-admits-class-of-2023/
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9175 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    Colby College certainly deserves to be ranked among the top 100 US colleges & universities based on several factors including quality of student, quality of instruction & facilities.

    Exchange program with Pomona College & a separate 4 week January term offering multiple study abroad options make Colby College a very attractive school for one seeking a small (2,000 students) fairly rural LAC.

    Additionally, Colby College just poured a boatload of money into planning & constructing a new indoor athletic facility.

    Plus, within a reasonable drive are all the lobster dinners one can handle. And, even though I love The South, I'll take lobster over grits any day.
    edited October 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 22166 replies234 threads Senior Member
    Yeah, they should be ranked. They should also be more transparent so they CAN be ranked. :)
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9175 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    Colby College's retention rate of first year students is reported in US News' Best Colleges 2020 Edition as 94%--which is excellent.

    Personally, I am not a big fan of small, rural LACs, but Colby College seems to be doing a lot right.

    P.S. If I had any input into Colby College's brochure pictures, I would suggest showing Colby students enjoying a lobster tail dinner--I like lobster--on campus in Maine as well as on the beach in Bermuda during January term.

    Then, with the help of PhotoShop, they could regionalize the photos for recruitment purposes (e.g. add grits for Southern applicants, green chile for prospects in the Southwest US, etc.).
    edited October 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • MWolfMWolf 1902 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Wowo, here I thought that USNews has produced the most useless ranking possible, and then WSJ goes and proves me wrong.

    Oh, so many things wrong with this rankings system. So, where should I start?

    The WSJ ranks all colleges as though they were the same. It's like ranking oranges and lemons together and ranking the lemons lower because they are sour.

    Ranking Liberal Arts Colleges lower than research universities because their faculty produce fewer research papers is ludicrous. This is especially ridiculous because about half of the publications or more that are produced by research universities are being produced by grad students and post-docs. Of course ranking LACs lower than universities because they have fewer programs is in the same category of nonsensical rankings.

    Counting the number of publications in Elsevier. Oh my. I guess that publications in the most prestigious journals Science and Nature are not considered important enough for ranking colleges. Elsevier publishes 2,500 peer reviewed journals. Seems like a lot until one realizes that there are today, 28,000 peer reviewed journals out there.

    Of course, they are also rewarding quantity over quality. So colleges in which the faculty churn out articles that meet the minimum standards for the journals with the highest acceptance rates will be ranked higher that colleges in which the faculty are publishing the most influential articles out there.

    Then there is the issue that they are dividing publications between 2013 and 2017 by the number of faculty who are presently at the college. Aside from changes in faculty numbers, the fact that many, or most, of the publications are actually produced by grad students and post-docs, who are not counted, means that this metric is bogus.

    Then there is the laughable "value added by the teaching at a college to salary". That reduces the rankings of the colleges which have the highest proportion of students who end up with PhDs, have careers in fields which actually help people (well, except for MDs), etc. However, colleges which send lots of people to be hedge fund managers will rank high.

    As always they inquire about "reputation" from college administrators, and then claim to be getting this data from " a survey of leading scholars", never mind that most haven't published a scholarly or scientific study in decades.

    Then, of course, there is their use of "faculty". Do they mean TT/Tenured faculty, or contingent labor? Colleges in which adjuncts are used extensively usually have a larger number of "faculty" on their lists. So this is also rewarded in the rankings

    There is the requirement to "Has more than 1,000 students". Too bad, Harvey Mudd College, you may provide one of the best engineering educations in the world, but WSJ does not consider you worthy of ranking.


    On one hand, it's good that forests are no longer being cut down to print these rankings, since they're mostly online. On the other hand, this means that, since they cannot be used for toilet paper or starting fires, their usefulness has been reduced to 0.
    · Reply · Share
  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    I didn't attend Colby and don't know anyone who did, but let's be direct: even the best of colleges game the system. In our first go-round with college applications, my first applicant got a letter(and we were dumb enough to think it actually meant something) from every one of the Ivy League schools. We were surprised, and frankly it fed some egos, as on numbers alone applicant wasn't a sure bet. Applied to only two, got rejected. Glad we didn't waste money on the others.
    Medical school was almost as bad; received solicitation letters from several out of state schools practically begging an application-and these schools all had low single digit OOS acceptance rates. None had been previously considered because the numbers were so bad, and were only ignored because of the experience with colleges.
    So not to excuse Colby, but a lot of gaming going on by many, many schools.
    · Reply · Share
  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1741 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Lobster is overrated. 😂
    · Reply · Share
  • mominwashingtonmominwashington 16 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Perhaps Colby doesn't publish their common data set on their own website, but it looks like it has been completed and it's on the College Data website.
    · Reply · Share
  • virginiamom1virginiamom1 8 replies6 threads New Member
    Thanks, everyone! This is my third time going through the college admission process and I am well aware of the games being played, by Colby and others, to increase application numbers, improve standardized test averages, etc. It is a tough world out there and, as long as we parents and so our kids are aware of what is going on, I am ok with the games. I am also aware that methodologies for rankings are imperfect, to say the least. I do think that the lists have some small value when looked at together. The Washington Post actually averages the rankings across 5 lists, which is the best list of all, IMO! It does give me pause, though, when a school is not listed at all. Those of you who said that it is a mistake for Colby not to be listed are correct - as far as I know, it is a fine school that provides an excellent education. But it is curious that they have not made the relevant data available, either to the public or, apparently, to the WSJ. I would like to know more about the thinking behind this. On it's face, it doesn't look great, given that everyone else provides that data. @mominwashington how could you tell how recent the data is on College Data? The fields are complete, yes, but I don't see the year from which those stats come.
    · Reply · Share
  • MintwoodMintwood 95 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Mwfan1921 , Reed is very transparent about its stats. It publishes its CDS prominently on the school's website https://www.reed.edu/ir/cds/cdsindex.html

    Reed, however, feels that USNWR, WSJ and other college ranking sites are being heavily gamed by institutions, and that such surveys a rather arbitrary in methodology, so does not actively participate in the surveys.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity