How do they rank colleges?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: How do they rank colleges?
By Enosis (Enosis) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 07:31 pm: Edit

I was wondering how colleges are ranked in specific categories. I.E., when they say that Random University is ranked #3 in engineering, what distinguishes it from #2 and #1? What factors are taken into consideration?

By Drusba (Drusba) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 08:07 pm: Edit

It simply depends on those doing the ranking. For example the most well known rankings are those promulgated by US News. About twenty years ago, it started rankings simply based on polling school administrators (presidents, deans) on what they thought were considered the top schools and those that got the most overall votes got the highest rankings. US News then went to a more "scientific" system. They chose Harvard, Yale and Princeton and looked at those factors of those three schools that each seemed to have like high name recognition, high retention rates, high test scores of students, high alumni donations and several others. They then used those three as the model to compare others against by designating the factors those three had as that which all schools would be measured against. Net result: absent a disaster, it is literally impossible for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to fall out of the top five in US News because their particular factors that they have high numersical scores in are the standard that was chosen to measure all others against. The differences in the chosen factors among the first 25 or so is not much.

US News also ranks engineering schools but that is done like the original US News rankings that depended on the votes of college administrators.

By Polly (Polly) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 09:39 pm: Edit

Are there any rankings that list universities good at biochemistry/pre-med and music respectively on the Internet?

By Haon (Haon) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 02:27 pm: Edit

Rankings exist...none are especially accurate.

If you have any questions about any of those programs, please post on this site. Personally I could help you with music a lot and pre-med/biochem a little...

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