Maybe we should do a ranking of rankings
And now come Newsweek and The Daily Beast with a new set of college rankings. Unlike the oh-so-serious 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings (due out Sept. 13), these lists cover the ineffable qualities of university life. How’s the food? How green is my campus? How cute are the students?
Newsweek/Daily Beast comments, “That’s why Newsweek’s philosophy is that different schools are best for different types of students, and why for this year’s rankings we developed 25 different lists, analyzing the 25 best schools in each of those niches. Student happiness. Return on tuition investment. Colleges for future tycoons, politicians, engineers. Schools that provide the greatest academic challenge or the most stress-free environment. Whatever is the key driver in the decision, we likely have it covered.”
U.Va. is ranked on seven of the 25 lists.
Top finish: #12 on the Athletic list. How do they figure that? In their own words: “Newsweek Daily Beast took into account four metrics, equally weighted, with the most recent (2009-2010) data from the US Department of education, covering each school’s financial commitment to athletics including all types of athletes officially affiliated with the school. The data points: financial aid per athlete, athletes as a percentage of total undergraduate enrollment, operating expenses per athlete, and the ratio of athletic expenses to instructional expense.”
Photo with U.Va.’s entry: three guys with U-V-A painted on their blue-and-orange chests.
Here are our other finishes with some explanation of “methodology”:
Return on investment: #14
“We considered Payscale.com’s ranking of the colleges worth the investment, ranked by annual ROI. As well, to measure how satisfied alumni were with the college experience, we included the alumni participation rate, or the percentage of alumni who the college has received hard donations from in the last year, according to the Council for Aid to Education. Each factor was weighted equally.”
Most beautiful: #14
And we aren’t talking only the landscaping. “Newsweek culled data on both points to determine which schools offer both—good looking students and an eye-catching campus.”
Computer geeks: #17
“Newsweek looked at which schools have the best record of creating today’s leaders in tech and which schools attract the most advanced computer-science geeks.” (Attention Engineering School!)
“To find the best 25 schools for hookups we used four data points: each college’s score for girls, guys, and campus strictness from College Prowler (a higher campus-strictness score indicates a less-strict campus culture), and the male-female ratio with data from the National Center for Education Statistics, with better scores given to gender egalitarian schools that ensure both genders have a fair shot at a hookup. Each data point was weighted equally, and extra credit was given for schools that landed on Playboy’s best-party-school list for 2011.”
Future politicians: #20
“We considered the number of students, from both undergraduate and graduate schools, that have become President, or are a current U.S. State Senator or Representative.”
Future CEOs: #21
“We considered the number of students—of both graduate and undergraduate programs—that have gone on to become CEOs of Fortune 100 companies.”
On the off chance you want to read more, visit the website or pick up the Sept. 5 issue of Newsweek. — Marian Anderfuren