Thursday, October 05, 2006
New Criteria for Ranking Schools Turns U.S. News List on Its Head
The Washington Monthly Offers New Ways to Pick America's Colleges.

Everyone knows about U.S. News' national rankings and Kiplinger's private and public rankings. And nearly everyone can predict which schools are going to be at the top 10 of those lists.

Washington Monthly decided to shake up those assumptions. They built a new model to predict school excellence that asks what the school is doing for the country.

To determine this, they asked:

  • How well a school performs as an engine of social mobility. Schools scored based on outreach to lower-income students, measured by exceeding expected percentages of students with Pell Grants given SAT scores and by exceeding expected graduation rates for those Pell Grant students. (Please read the methodology for a better explanation.)
  • How well it does in fostering scientific and humanistic research. Schools scored based on the total amount of an institution's research spending, the number of PhDs awarded by the university in the sciences and engineering, and the percentage of undergraduate alumni who have gone on to receive a PhD in any subject.
  • How well it promotes an ethic of service to country. Schools scored based on the percentage of students enrolled in the Army and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, the percentage of alumni who are currently serving in the Peace Corps, and the percentage of federal work-study grants devoted to community service projects.

Please check out the full ranking. Some of these results might surprise you. If nothing else, applying to less well-known but still competitive schools often means a better aid offer. And applying to these schools might inspire public service, as well.

And if you want still more rankings, visit here.



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