“Great Schools at Great Prices” from U.S. News & World Report
Prospective students want to know: what’s the best deal when it comes to college? U.S. News & World Report tackled the question in its “Best Colleges 2011” rankings. In determining “Great Schools, Great Prices,” U.S. News took into account a school’s academic quality as well as the “net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.” Hence, if a school is academically above average yet keeps students’ costs low, students are getting a deal and the college or university itself is considered to be a “value school.”
For the category of “National Universities,” U.S. News found Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford to be among the top five value schools. “Regional Universities” are separately ranked, as are “National Liberal Arts Colleges” and “Regional Liberal Arts Colleges”–with regional categories being divided up by “North,” “South,” “Midwest” and “West.”
You can locate the full rankings on U.S. News along with a complete description of its Methodology.
How Else Did U.S. News & World Report Rank Colleges?
U.S. News also produced rankings based on a number of other topics including “Best Colleges” at large–with Harvard, Princeton and Yale rounding out the top three picks for “National Universities” and Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore Colleges topping the “National Liberal Arts Colleges” list.
Traditional rankings such as “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” and “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” were also compiled along with inventive lists such as “A+ Schools for B students” and “College Rankings by High School Counselors.”
Many of the rankings can be viewed using the free version of U.S. News, but to view the full lists under some classifications requires an upgrade to the premium online edition.
Obviously, no single college is universally best. Prospective students who are shopping around for schools can learn much from college rankings but should use those lists in conjunction with personal preferences to make admissions decisions.
Brigham Young University, for example, ranks 75th overall as a national university–having been named 20th for “Great Schools at Great Prices,” 34th for “Best Undergraduate Business Program” and 4th for “Least Debt” for departing graduates. BYU is a tremendous university, but depending on what you want to get out of college, Provo-land may not be for you. Conversely, BYU may be exactly what you want academically, socially and religiously–something you wouldn’t have known had you stuck to looking only at top-three schools.
By the way, do you know “What Your College Degree is Worth?”
“Best Colleges 2011: Find the Best College For You.” USNews.com.
“Best Colleges 2011: Great Schools, Great Prices.” USNews.com.
“U.S. News: BYU Top 75 in Country, One of Top 20 Best Values.” News.BYU.edu.