Small colleges gain prominence in rankings

On November 2013, Washington Monthly released a new system of ranking colleges, which they call “best bang for the buck,” based on the economic value that students receive from their education per dollar paid in tuition.
Small schools take prominence in this type of ranking, with Amherst ranked number one, above the eight Ivy League schools. Queens College of New York ranks second on the list.
Ms. Emily Pennington (College and Career Center) said, “I went to a small school with 1,200 students, and I loved it. Education is on a different level, and you don’t graduate with just specific knowledge in one area. You graduate with the ability to think and problem solve no matter what major you go into. In a small school, you get to know your classmates and professors on an individual level.”
There are no set guidelines to ranking universities. U.S News and World Report ranks universities based on factors like admitted students’ SAT/ACT scores, the percentage of admitted students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and the acceptance rate of that university. On this list, the Ivy schools Harvard, Yale and Princeton claim the top three spots.
Payscale ranks schools based on alumni salaries after college, and places Harvey Mudd College of Claremont, CA as the top school. Forbes bases its ranking on student satisfaction, student debt and the total number of national competitive awards received by students in the university, with Stanford University receiving first place.
“I think no amount of lists and rankings can really tell a student how he or she would personally fit in a school,” said Suzanne Chen (Sr.). “The best way for a student to choose a school is to go and experience it for themselves, and talk to someone who went there, not just read the numbers.”
“There are so many schools out there that no one knows about that have amazing programs,” said Roya Aghavali (Sr.) “Rankings should not be the reason a student goes to a certain school.”
Staff Writer