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2018 US News Best Colleges rankings have been released


Replies to: 2018 US News Best Colleges rankings have been released

  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 23,670 Super Moderator
    "I wonder how CC decides which colleges to put under those [Top] links. Anyone know?"

    I've been a CC moderator for about six years, and I have no idea how the lists were made, and I don't remember any changes to them in the 11 years I've been a member. I suggest not taking the CC Top lists too seriously.

    "How can Verygood College be in the CC Top list but Evenbetter University isn't?" :-)
  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 Registered User Posts: 2,985 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    Just an FYI - Northeastern s got it's biggest boost in rankings when the grad rate metric at USNews was changed from 4 yr to 6 yr... Which is a completely fair metric for a school where the curriculum is based on a 5 year program (because of Co-op).

    I find the "tie" numbering comical. If 3 schools are tied at 18, then the next school becomes #21, and out of top 20. The 3 schools have exact numbers and the next school may be off by a hair, but behind 18 by 3 rankings!
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 2,251 Senior Member
    @suzyQ7 Yeh, that's the way a lot if not most rankings work. My girls did a lot of gymnastics, and that's how they rank all-arounds and each of the events.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,746 Senior Member
    CC's top college list is the same as the USNWR top 30 or so, except for USC, Tufts, Wake and BC.
  • MastadonMastadon Registered User Posts: 1,369 Senior Member
    Here is a UC Irvine research paper on which universities rose in the US News Rankings between 1999 and 2007.

    Wash U


    UPenn's rise predated this window
    UChicago and Northeastern followed this window.

    It would be interesting to see if UC Irving rose after this study...

    For those who don't believe Slate. the logarithmic adjuster is mentioned in the paper.

  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    If schools were going to game the ranking, the easiest way to make the biggest impact would be:
    - Pick more kids with perfect test scores (average test score metric is worth ~8% of the overall score)
    - Exclude any kid who isn't in the top 10% of their class. (percent of enrollees in top 10% of hs class is worth ~3%...)

    Admit rate is worth just 1.25% of the overall score. US News puts much more stock in the quality of the kids who enroll than in the number of apps a school receives.

    Anyway, test scores and top 10% are worth more than 10% of the overall score and could be manipulated fairly easily, assuming you have plenty of applicants (and presumably enrollees) with top-notch stats.

    So becoming less holistic would be one fairly inexpensive way to inch your way up the ranking, assuming you didn't simultaneously get worse in other areas...
  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 445 Member
    edited September 13
    lols.. not only is USNWR gaming results.. it was done for political reasons.

    from the paper cited by @Mastadon

    In the 2000 rankings U.S. News standardized all variables in its
    ranking model, a procedure that catapulted CalTech into #1, displacing first-ranked Harvard,
    Princeton and Yale. The following year, after a hefty dose of criticism from baffled readers,
    including some from the displaced Ivies themselves, U.S. News adjusted each school’s research
    spending according to the ratio of its undergraduate to graduate students and applied a
    logarithmic adjustor to deal with “so-called statistical outliers.” CalTech (the statistical outlier)
    was pushed back into fourth, and Harvard, Princeton and Yale were back on top.6

    if you don't like the results because of "outliers:" you can always make up new results with the USNWR logarithmic adjuster.

    it's more an exercise in politics and curve fitting for your desired results than anything else.

    you can't make this stuff up:)
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,141 Senior Member
    I wonder why USNews feels the need to separate universities and colleges when they purport to be comparing undergrad experiences.

    I don't know about you, but my kids had both types of schools on their lists. Why the artificial separation?

    (This came to mind when I looked at Tufts ranked among the national Us when it's really much more like a LAC...then thought why bother making that distinction anyway? Just make one list).
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    @sbballer never worry about Cal Tech. For what they are and offer and how they are, they are absolutely unique and field leading. Hence their dominance of world university rankings. There is a strong argument that they are too sui genesis in numerous material ways to be compared to the other schools.
  • ChrchillChrchill Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    @Mastadon UC Irvine has been climbing, especially the law school since Chemerinsky has become their dean.
  • mdphd92mdphd92 Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    edited September 13
    @OHMomof2 I would contend that there should be even more separation into different types of schools, rather than the two large categories that exist now. Different types of schools should be evaluated on different attributes. This is one of the ideas in Malcolm Gladwell's critique of this largely useless ranking endeavor at


    where he makes an analogy with trying to come up with a single ranking for automobiles. It just makes absolutely no sense to have a single ranking of cars, when some people need a sedan, some need an SUV, some need a truck, and some want a sports car. Why should a truck be evaluated primarily on its gas mileage, or a sports car primarily on its load capacity? There are useful evaluations of cars, such as those produced by Consumer Reports, but even they don't try to produce a single ranking that fits all situations or needs.

    A single list would imply that all colleges and universities are aiming (or even worse, should be aiming) for the same ideal. Even two lists downplay the importance of having a diversity of educational models, which is one of the strengths of intellectual and academic discourse that exists in this country. It does a great disservice to students, as well, who should be looking for a college that fits them. One or two lists cannot possibly meet the need for students to find the right fit for their own individual circumstances.
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    Ahhh, so:

    Top STEM schools
    Top Humanities schools
    Top Social Science schools
    Top Schools for Undergrad Focus (might want to just rank the universities, since it's basically a forgone conclusion for LACs)
    Top Schools for Future PhDs
    Top Schools for Future Executives
    Top Schools for Future Award Winners
    Top Schools for Middle Management
    Nerdiest/Preppiest/Crunchiest/Most Jock-Laden Campuses
    Top Schools for Gainful Employment
    Most Intellectual Atmospheres
    Most Pre-Professional Atmospheres
    Schools with the Smallest Classes, by Major
    Schools with the Most Undergrad Research
    Schools with the Most Undergrad Internships
    Schools with the Best Party Scene
    Schools with the Best Outdoor Activities
    Schools that Spend the Most on Undergrads
    Schools that Make it Easy to Change Majors
    Schools that Offer the Best Financial Aid
    Schools Ranked by Test Scores

    This is starting to remind me of the various Princeton Review rankings. So yeah, if a kid had a specific fit variable that was of the utmost importance, niche rankings could help.
  • observer12observer12 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    @vonlost "I suggest not taking the CC Top lists too seriously."

    I suggest not taking any list that purports to rank a diverse group of colleges and universities very seriously!

    But since the whole discussion is about ranking, I was curious and I promise not to take whatever the reason is very seriously. Perhaps back when CC began, someone decided to use the heading "CC Top Liberal Arts Colleges" for the LAC that generated the most discussion or interest among CC users. So Trinity and Whitman were among those and Bucknell, Franklin & Marshall and Scripps were not, at least back then.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 852 Member
    Maybe something like this:

    - rank just the ivies, so Harvard, Yale etc.
    - rank stem focused schools, MIT, Cal Tech
    - rank public schools by themselves
    - rank LACs as they are now
    - rank non-ivy privates

    Then break up into groups of 10 and rank alphabetically within the groups so you don't deal with the ties. It would be tougher to game as well since moving within a band would not be recognized.

  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 852 Member
    "undergrad at a top 10 school, I would think given the preference a lot of the MBA programs give to their undergrad students, the ranking just based on that and their undergrad ranking would be as follows

    1) Harvard, Stanford
    3) MIT, Penn, UChicago
    6) Columbia, Yale
    8) Duke, Northwestern, Princeton"

    Princeton doesn't have a business school so they shouldn't even be on the list, Dartmouth has an excellent business school, and Yale is not a top-10 business school. Swap out Princeton with Dartmouth, swap Yale with Berkeley or Michigan, move Kellogg into tier 2. This is how I would rank the undergrad:

    Harvard, Stanford, Penn (Wharton)
    Kellogg, Chicago
    MIT, Columbia, Duke
    Dartmouth, Michigan

    And btw a lot of the top business schools prefer applicants that didn't go to their undergrad.
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