In keeping with the spirit of the thread, I particularly like tracking one category.
Mid-size (for me, 4K-12K) non-T30s: Chapman, U of St Thomas (MN), CWRU, GWU, Howard, Miami, Lehigh, American U, Hampton, USanFran, Marquette, Gonzaga, Loyola (MD), St Louis U, etc.
My personal reason for tracking this group is those are the types of schools where I see my children attending, and those are the ones likely to come up in discussions about where to send a student. In my circles, few are paying extra to send their kids to OOS publics when we have perfectly good publics here. And if a family is sending their child to an in-state public, the decision is usually made fairly easily among which schools accepted the student.
In any circle, no one really needs advice for T30s - either your kid is going to one or not. If the costs are equal, very few people are making gut-wrenching decisions between MIT and U of Northern AZ - and there’s really no material difference between Georgetown and Emory that families can’t figure out on their own.
But I love reading the details about mid-size privates. What makes Lehigh different than Lewis & Clark different than Eckerd different than Creighton? Is International Studies better at Union or Santa Clara? Which schools are greek focused, which empty out on the weekends, which have good writing programs, which have sports teams the students attend or not, which do this or that.
Why is Seattle U ranked #127, Santa Clara #55, Quinnipiac #148 and American U #79? Are there any material differences between the four, besides better majors for one over the others? I know the “why” is because of how each school measures up to the methodology applied by USNWR. The “why” I want to know is why Quinny might be better for Student X and why SeattleU might be better for Student H.
These are the questions about the USNWR rankings that are on my mind.
PS: I also possibly see one of my kids attending a slightly smaller school. I’m thankful for rankings like Forbes that combine LACs with all the other schools.