Most trusted colleges [Morning Consult]

Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Duke, Notre dame, Cornell, Baylor, Brown and Georgetown are most trusted colleges among students, parents and employers.


I think what this highlights is is ignorance of the US higher education system. Baylor University is near the top due to the confusion with Baylor College of Medicine.


Hmm :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

A report by an unknown firm trying to market its services. Sounds totally legit.

I’m not sure what “most trusted college” means anyway. Trusted to do what?


Morning Consult is a widely respected polling and business intelligence company.

Morning Consult - Wikipedia


I see :grinning:

Ignorance on my part then.

I didn’t realize this, but they have a special focus on “brand intelligence,” which, I guess, is what this is.

They are also extremely well-known and respected for political polling.

I have to say it’s a very interesting slide deck.

1 Like

Morning Consult is a very reputable polling company.

1 Like

I’m guessing that one kind of “trust” might be: how much would the person believe some research coming from the university? For example, if you read a news story “Scientists at X university released a report saying Y,” would you believe Y?

I thought this slide was the most interesting (and sad).


Baylor is a trusted name in Texas and among conservatives outside Texas. No medical schools were considered on this list and its unlikely to mix up BU with BCM. Baylor U itself has many reputable programs and their rate of admissions to medical, law, nursing, dental, grad and business schools is high.

As a liberal, it pains me to say it but for a conservative, private, smallish school in Texas and with Waco’s geographic and historic baggage, they are surprisingly reliable when it comes to academics. I guess merit scholarships attract unlikely applicants.


The medical schools play a huge role in the public image of a university. Why do you think JHU was #1? They have a well known med school and not the political backlash that a Harvard does because the normal person on the street doesn’t know anything about them other than the med school. The average person also thinks Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor University are the same thing.

1 Like

Seems like this type of list is most useful if you want to college name drop. For example “research at [college name] says that [something you want people to believe]” or “[someone], a professor at [college name], says that [something you want people to believe]”.

On the other hand, some name dropping of colleges may have the opposite effect generally (e.g. University of Phoenix). Others may have greatly different effects of name dropping based on political party (e.g. Oberlin College, Hillsdale College, Liberty University).

I can’t comment on the Baylor piece but taking a look at the entire project it is just nonsense. I would guess that if you asked the question of why a particular institution was trusted over another there would be no cogent answer from most responders.

1 Like

Find it interesting (slide 5) that there is more trust in the US government than there is in the US media. I would expect both to be pretty low but think this would have showed very different 50 years ago.

Agree with @Aimlesscat1 - think this is nonsense.

lol. Most of those would be on my least trusted list.

These studies are done all the time-- it’s the equivalent of the Q rating to figure out whether Whoopie Goldberg or Kayleigh McEnaney should replace Conan when he retires. “Most Trusted” is just the nomenclature-- pharmacists and nurses rank higher on the “most trusted” occupational studies than used car salespeople. There are few surprises in these studies but an occasional outlier can be helpful for an institution or organization. (Some of these studies picked up on the fact that the fake news around the causes of autism was causing an erosion of trust in pharmaceutical companies… which led to a lot of backlash when the Covid vaccine got fast-tracked. So the studies on “most trusted” were a helpful canary in the coal mine for public health officials who saw that the false narrative on autism was eroding vaccination rates in babies for MMR, eroding rates for teenagers on HPV, non-participation rates for shingles vaccines in older adults, etc.)

I wouldn’t pick a college based on this study!

Gen Z adults presumably many of whom are in universities currently, trusted them the least.

1 Like

With a few exceptions it looks like the USNews rankings. The more known a university is, the more it is trusted?

1 Like

Probably because those in college are currently encountering stuff like costs, bureaucracy, and other hassles, or were disappointed in what seems to them to be opaque admission results, and those not in college may be predisposed against college or education, versus older people who are glad that they went to college if they did, or see universities providing useful information through research.

The polling company might be reputable, but we have learned that (at least when it comes to politics), the polling process itself is susceptible. The list includes at least one school involved in the Varsity Blues scandal, and two who have been investigated by the Department of Education for race discrimination in admissions (one of which is likely to lose before the Supreme Court.) Of course, this could be an reflective of the respondents rather than the poll or pollsters themselves.

The methodology explanation suggests respondents were presented a list of schools and asked to rate their trust level for each one. That implies some kind of pre-screening of names, because they can’t have asked each respondent to rate 3000 schools.

Moreover, they were asked to rate how much “they trust each brand to do the right thing”. That’s so vague. They weren’t asked, “how much do you trust the research?” Honestly, I wouldn’t have known how to answer this survey.