While the college rankings released Wednesday by U.S. News and World Report may still be the gold standard for rating schools, other sources are increasingly using their own metrics to determine the best of the best.
The AP highlighted Parchment.com, which collects data not just on the schools students chose to attend, but also on the schools they rejected in favor of their top choice. The result? Schools rise and fall in the rankings depending on how many accepted applicants go elsewhere.
Then there’s The Alumni Factor, which purports to identify the schools with the happiest graduates.
On that list, Indiana State University in Terre Haute climbs to No. 59 among national universities, higher ranked by Washington Monthly than either Indiana University or Purdue. (It’s unranked on the U.S. News and World Report list.)
Perhaps predictably, the same Ivy League schools rise to the top almost without exception. But if a school less well known than Harvard or Yale can be both unranked and surpassing its competitors — depending on who you ask — how reliable are the rankings, really?
Richmond points out it’s important to understand what exactly the rankings measure. For example, U.S. News and World Report offers a list of best value colleges, a calculation that compares the school’s ranking with the net price of attendance. Several of the state’s smaller, regional colleges and universities made that list.
For parents and teachers whose students are searching for the right college, what lists and tools comparing schools have you found useful?
U.S. News and World Report Rankings
- University of Notre Dame, No. 17
- Purdue University – West Lafayette, No. 65
- Indiana University – Bloomington, No. 83
- Ball State University, No. 184
National Liberal Arts Colleges
- DePauw, No. 54
- Wabash College, No. 56
- Earlham College, No. 82
- St. Mary’s College, No. 87
- Hanover College, No. 112
- Goshen College, No. 140
Regional Universities (Midwest)
- Butler University, No. 2
- Valparaiso University, No. 4
- University of Evansville, No. 9
- Indiana Wesleyan University, No. 27
- Anderson University, No. 38
- University of Indianapolis, No. 38
- University of St. Francis, No. 80
Regional Colleges (Midwest)
- Taylor University, No. 1
- Franklin College, No. 11
- Huntington University, No. 13
- Manchester University, No. 18
- Bethel College, No. 24
- St. Joseph’s College, No. 27
- St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, No. 27
- Trine University, No. 34
- Grace College and Seminary, No. 46
- Indiana University – Kokomo, No. 72