rationale behind the rankings & weightings is as follows:
Educational Quality accumulates many factors — the effectiveness
of the coursework, professors' effort levels, opportunities outside the classroom,
how will the information “sticks”, the organization of the courses,
how confident the students feel with the material after the
Innovation is the conversion of educational
knowledge into new opportunities, and new ways of doing things.
Pure education can become outdated, but teaching a student
how and encouraging their creativity and innovation will provide them
with returns for the rest of their lives.
Body (reflected by ACT & SAT)
In “schools to
be aspired to”, as much of the learning takes place
from the fellow students as it does from the faculty.
Student Body captures this, at least partially, through ACT
& SAT scores, where the students were ambitious enough to
insure that a standardized test score were as high as
possible, to attend an institution with other ambitous students.
Academic Success is based upon 'understanding' This is fundamentally important.
In a world obsessed with grades, it is imperative
that any educational institution insure that the grades it gives,
the metrics, and evaluations are clear and appropriate to the
Many schools stake their reputation on grades,
and their abilities to make qualified, educated, and ambitious people
either fail out, or do poorly — because then it
artificially seems as though the education is difficult.
This does an enormous disservice to students and their
families, who invest and save their entire lives to help
increase the opportunities of their children, where the institution then
takes their money on that promise, then diminishes those opportunities
to build their own reputation. To either the successful
or naive observer, it may seem that grades are a
direct reflection of a student's own performance, but they are
not. Curving policies, “fairness” assertions, and forced fail-out rates
enforce something entirely different. The sad part is that
because of the number of years this occurs over for
the student, and peoples' abilities to “self-blame”, that the
failure on the part of the institution to understand the
purpose of its own education, and to act in its
students' interests is totally overlooked.
Students attend college for an
education, and an increase in opportunities. This measures how
well those opportunities and success follow from the student's own
efforts and understanding.
Would Return (Overall Experience)
things stated, would the students choose to return? This
blanket captures things that all of our ratings did not,
or could not capture. Is there some unknown factor
affecting why students would not return?
To force students to grow, to achieve potentials beyond what
they originally considered, the coursework must be CHALLENGING.
While many schools may argue this, University
Funding, from the prospective of the students is meant to
be used for 2 things: Improving immediate conditions on campus
for the CURRENT CUSTOMER BASE, and in increasing reputation so
that the VALUE of the physical degree is grows over
time. A growing reputation means that doors will continue
to open throughout your life due to the “Name” on
In highly challenging institutions, it
becomes more important than ever to have an active social
life — not only as a support network (very important),
but because the social life helps facilitate a highly valuable
network with other ambitious, intelligent people. Just as much
as the reputation opens doors, so does your network of
friends and colleagues.
We did not stratify by
research institutions because we felt that while research institutions may
present different opportunities than liberal arts, the education provided to
undergraduates is not necessarily better, worse, or even that
different, and many prospective students consider them all nearly equally
when choosing where to apply.
Note: There is no
separation by department/major to show relative strengths at this time.