Why is Connecticut college rated so low on Niche?

I really liked the vibe of Connecticut college. Its videos and website made me really want to apply to this university. But, when I searched Niche for more information on connecticut college, it rated the very low. What stood out the most was the student life grade of just ‘C’. Now, I am feeling wary of applying to connecticut college. Can anyone tell me why is this college rated so low? Or is Niche’s rating not correct?

For every school, a handful of students, from among the thousands who attend, report. Sometimes, it’s ones who are unhappy because it’s a great way to vent. (There are a number of those here on CC as well, btw, for quite a few schools.) I know lots of kids who have loved their time at Conn. My advice is to look at Niche then ask your tour guide and other students about as anything that concerns you.

The question isn’t so much whether this (or any other) ranking is “correct”, it’s more whether their methodology is appropriate for your needs and interests. There really isn’t any comprehensive ground truth (or gold standard) against which anyone can measure correctness. If there were, I suppose we’d use that gold standard.

The closest thing to a gold standard … a silver or tin standard, maybe … would be something like the USNWR peer assessment ratings, representing expert opinions about some number of more-or-less well-known institutions. Myriad data models can be constructed to approximate something like that ~standard, using different rating factors, data sources, and weights. Several of them (USNWR, Forbes, Kiplinger’s) all point to similar sets of top N schools, but in more-or-less different orders, depending on the methodology.

A description of the Niche methodology and list of their data sources are available. You can Google for them.
(CC apparently does not allow me to link to them.)

I find their methodology description both more complex and less clear than the USNWR and Forbes methodology descriptions. The data seems to be drawn from some respectable sources (IPEDS, DOE, etc) … but it isn’t very clear to me how they use it. For example, how heavily does “data on athletics”, “data on crime”, or “loan default information” count? I’m not sure I want that kind of information weighing very heavily in a college quality ranking … but maybe you do.

They do place many of the same “usual suspects” in their T20 or T100 as several other rankings do. Still, some of their individual results seem a little implausible to me. Williams College 40 positions below Bowdoin? I also think #246 seems way low for Conn College. But maybe I’m biased. Assuming their data handling and math isn’t sloppy, it’s all a matter of methodology and whether you care about the same things they do.

I would not base a decision like that on Niche. If you like the school and the vibe, you should apply. One of my students is headed there this fall, he is thrilled. I toured it with my daughter. And thought people seemed friendly and relaxed. I had a good feeling about it. Maybe do an overnIght at some point.

The question isn’t so much whether this (or any other) ranking is “correct”, it’s more whether their methodology is appropriate for your needs and interests. There really isn’t any comprehensive ground truth (or gold standard) against which anyone can measure correctness. If there were, I suppose we’d use that gold standard.

The closest thing to a gold standard … a silver or tin standard, maybe … would be something like the USNWR peer assessment ratings, representing expert opinions about some number of more-or-less well-known institutions. Myriad data models can be constructed to approximate something like that ~standard, using different rating factors, data sources, and weights. Several of them (USNWR, Forbes, Kiplinger’s) all point to similar sets of top N schools, but in more-or-less different orders, depending on the methodology.

A description of the Niche methodology is here:
https://www.■■■■■■■■■/colleges/rankings/methodology/
They list their data sources here:
https://about.■■■■■■■■■/data/#dataSources

I find their methodology description both more complex and less clear than the USNWR and Forbes methodology descriptions. The data seems to be drawn from some respectable sources (IPEDS, DOE, etc) … but it isn’t very clear to me how they use it. For example, how heavily does “data on athletics”, “data on crime”, or “loan default information” count? I’m not sure I want that kind of information weighing very heavily in a college quality ranking … but maybe you do.

They do place many of the same “usual suspects” in their T20 or T100 as several other rankings do. Still, some of their individual results seem a little implausible to me. Williams College 40 positions below Bowdoin? I also think #246 seems way low for Conn College. But maybe I’m biased. Assuming their data handling and math isn’t sloppy, it’s all a matter of methodology and whether you care about the same things they do.

Connecticut College receives an “Overall Niche Grade” of A-. In an absolute sense, Niche seems to have concluded that you can find a lot of great colleges out there. Ranking distinctions between the schools with grades in the A range would not appear to matter that much if the overall grades themselves have been assigned with meaning.

Hey gardenstategal, I am an international student. So, I cannot visit the campus. And, I could look past other rankings but the student life grade is a major red flag for me. Do you think only the people with bad experiences contributed to niche rating? Isn’t that unlikely?

@esmail111 If only people with bad experiences contributed to the niche rating, the same would hold true for every other college listed, so it would balance out regardless.

The student life rating is based on: “campus diversity, social scene, student reviews, and additional factors.”

Who knows what the “additional factors” are and whether they would be important to you. I also think anonymous student reviews online are unreliable.

I suggest you contact Conn College admissions and ask to communicate with one of their tour guides or current International students so you can ask questions.

It looks like the campus, student life, location and safety are big issues with this college. The city of New London ranks high in violent crime. US News ranks it as #46 of the best large LACs. I would look at similar colleges in the NE and see how this schools compares to its peers?

@JenJenJenJen I see your point, except for that the numbers of students reviewing each college on Niche they vary a lot, and are all fairly low. Some colleges have 300 reviews, some 600, others 2,000, and it’s not correlated to the size of the school. The polls on Niche commonly have fewer than 100 students responding. The smaller number of reviews, the bigger effect the outliers have.

I would say issues with sample size make it tricky to compare schools on Niche. Best to visit and/or talk to current students.