Reflections on Rankings

As we face a stream of rankings on the country’s leading colleges and universities, I would like to convey some thoughts about how we should interpret and respond to what we read. Developing a collective sensibility or philosophy about rankings is essential. We all have a tendency to jump for joy when we receive a high ranking and alternatively complain about the integrity of the ranking methodology when we receive a low one. I would like you to join me in thinking both critically and constructively together about this.

Einstein once admonished that we measure what we can count easily, but often fail to measure what really counts. This is a central problem of social science, and rankings are susceptible to this methodological weakness.

In my view, rankings are a modestly important and highly imperfect reflection of quality: modestly important because we use rankings as a shorthand proxy for value, and highly imperfect, as many ranking systems and publications apply seemingly arbitrary weights and inadequate survey methodologies.

In sum, we should look at rankings through a thoughtful analytical perspective to avoid two alternative negative tendencies. We should not allow rankings to define who we are or what we value, and we should not pretend that they do not matter at all.

Accordingly, we should have a balanced, transparent, and thoughtful approach to value-driven metrics for the College. Here we list all of our rankings and advise readers to examine the methodologies that we hyperlink below. We will then urge you to study the methodology and draw your own conclusions on the strength of the methodology and the alignment of what’s measured with what’s most important to you.

Very best,
Hiram Chodosh
President

 

Current Rankings

 

Best Colleges and Universities #10
College Consensus (2018)
Methodology

Best Colleges in California #2
College Consensus (2018)
Methodology

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges #5
College Consensus (2018)
Methodology

Top Student Consensus #2
College Consensus (2018)
Methodology

Top College Consensus #10
College Consensus (2018)
Methodology

Top Liberal Arts College #2
Forbes, Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Top College #11
Forbes, America's Top Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Heterodox Academy Top 50 Liberal Arts Schools #1
Diversity of viewpoint rankings (2017)
Methodology

Best Colleges #3
Top Consensus Ranked Schools (2017-18)
Methodology

Top 25% US Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges #4
RePEc/IDEAS (2017)
Methodology

NCAA Division III Learfield Directors' Cup #4
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), 2016-2017
Methodology

Best Universities and Colleges by Salary Potential #4
PayScale.com (2016-17)

Best Schools for Internships #6
Princeton Review, The Best 382 Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Best Alumni Network #10
Princeton Review, The Best 382 Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Colleges That Pay You Back #36
Princeton Review, The Best 382 Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Best-Run Colleges #13
Princeton Review, The Best 382 Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Most Accessible Professors #13
Princeton Review, The Best 382 Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Top 100 Colleges Ranked by Diversity #7
BestColleges.com (2016)
Methodology

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges #8
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2018)
Methodology

Faculty Resources #5
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Student Selectivity #21
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Most Innovative #10
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

High School Counselor Rankings #10
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Graduation and Retention #11
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Financial Resources #13
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Alumni Giving #24
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Best Value Schools #32
U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2017)
Methodology

Best College Sports Lovers #40
Money Magazine

 

 

Rankings from previous years