Our advanced ranking algorithm is designed to help you choose the best possible school for your investment of time and money.

Choosing a school is difficult. At the end of the day, we know you are looking to maximize your investment of both time and money into education that will help you succeed. When ranking an institution, many systems weigh heavily some factors over others that may or may not be important to you. Rather than rely on more subjective data such as peer evaluations and surveys, our sophisticated rankings our based on precise information reported directly to the National Center for Education Statistics and compiled into factors such as:

  • Value per dollar of tuition - Just because a school is expensive doesn't always mean it will give you a high-quality education. In fact, many state schools that provide reduced-rate tuition for in-state residents report better numbers (graduation rates, program offerings, etc...) than expensive private colleges. Our ranking factor here is actually split into tuition weighted against multiple factors such as student-to-faculty ratios and current enrollment statistics.
  • Student-to-faculty ratios - Schools can make direct decisions about how many students to pack into classrooms and how many teachers to hire. While many ranking algorithms put this as a high determining factor, we have weighted this relatively lower because the value of education with regard to small class sizes is complex. For example, a great teacher with 25 students will provide significantly better education than a terrible teacher with 10. A school may hire many inexpensive teachers to promote lower ratios, but this should not boost their ranking. Still, in general this is still an important ratio to look for and we have kept it in our ranking algorithm.
  • Retention rates - Are students leaving the school after a couple of years? Are they dropping out because it is too hard or frustrating? Or are they flunking out? While the fine details may not be able to be determined from reported retention rates, whichever way you look at it this is a very important metric to consider when ranking a school?
  • Graduation rates - More than just the flip side of retention rates, graduation rates of individuals seeking Associate, Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate degrees (as well as earning various certifications) are another important ranking factor for colleges. This includes the duration of time that students take to complete their degree program at various levels.
  • Applicant pool ratios - Have the rates of students applying for this school changed? Do a large number of students apply for this school relative to enrollment? It is important to look at these numbers not only to examine your odds of getting into the school, but to give you an idea of both popularity and up-to-date changes the school has made with regard to its applicate pool statistics.
  • Admission ratios - While a large number of people may apply and be accepted, a key metric to examine about a school how how many of the accepted students actually say yes and attend the school. For example, many of the nation's top prospective students may apply to a wide variety of schools and be accepted, but a key factor that should boost a school's ranking is the accepted-to-admitted ratio.
  • Enrollment numbers - For each grade level as appropriate for the programs offered, are enrollment numbers steady and reasonable? Are transfer students flocking to or from the school? Does the number of students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs seem appropriate based on what is offered?
  • Program offerings - Is there a rich diversity of programs compared to cost and enrollment numbers? While a school that has relatively few programs should not be ranked less if it is offering a high quality education, those schools that simply add more programs and hire more teachers without maintaining enrollment and graduating more students at various levels should be marked down in the rankings.
  • Cost of living - While many ranking systems leave cost of living out of their algorithms, we have decided to include a non-trivial value to it because it contributes significantly to the net cost (i.e. with books, tuition, etc...) and thus should be an important factor when choosing a school.
  • Test scores - A school that has students with higher test scores tends to follow many of the important ranking factors described above. However, there are cases (such as many state schools) when other ranking factors are lower but the quality of the students actually enrolling (and staying enrolled) in a school is high. Who your peers are at a school is an important part of education and thus we have included ACT/SAT scores in our ranking algorithm.

Given the factors described above, schools are ranking programmatically and scaled to fit within a range from 0-100. The top 100 schools in the US are listed below.

Harvard University
100.00
Yale University
98.16
Stanford University
97.56
Columbia University in the City of New York
96.68
University of Pennsylvania
95.86
University of California-Berkeley
95.35
University of California-Los Angeles
95.27
Princeton University
94.91
Brown University
93.56
University of Southern California
92.90
Northwestern University
92.79
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
91.19
New York University
91.15
Dartmouth College
90.67
Duke University
90.18
University of Virginia-Main Campus
89.78
Vanderbilt University
89.43
The University of Texas at Austin
88.87
Johns Hopkins University
88.17
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
88.10
California Institute of Technology
87.91
University of California-San Diego
87.74
University of Wisconsin-Madison
87.68
Tufts University
87.52
Pomona College
87.36
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
86.96
Amherst College
86.61
Rice University
86.34
Boston College
86.23
Emory University
86.16
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
86.08
Boston University
85.95
Ohio State University-Main Campus
85.52
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
85.19
Bowdoin College
85.11
Texas A & M University
85.08
Swarthmore College
84.81
University of Georgia
84.62
College of William and Mary
84.47
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
84.32
University of California-Davis
84.14
Middlebury College
84.13
Vassar College
83.68
Carnegie Mellon University
83.67
Michigan State University
83.67
Wesleyan University
83.65
Washington and Lee University
83.52
Carleton College
83.39
University of California-Irvine
83.23
University of California-Santa Barbara
83.05
Harvey Mudd College
82.84
George Washington University
82.79
Claremont McKenna College
82.58
Haverford College
82.52
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
82.50
Northeastern University
82.45
Barnard College
82.31
Wellesley College
82.22
Indiana University-Bloomington
82.10
Tulane University of Louisiana
81.60
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
81.44
Brandeis University
81.22
University of Connecticut
81.13
Colgate University
81.11
Davidson College
81.11
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
80.88
United States Military Academy
80.87
Oberlin College
80.71
University of Miami
80.25
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
80.11
University of Central Florida
79.94
James Madison University
79.92
Colby College
79.36
Wheaton College
79.06
The College of New Jersey
79.04
University of Rochester
78.98
Whitman College
78.89
Biola University
78.76
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
78.69
United States Air Force Academy
78.68
Purdue University-Main Campus
78.66
Scripps College
78.64
Macalester College
78.59
Kenyon College
78.57
Rhode Island School of Design
78.35
Clemson University
78.30
Case Western Reserve University
78.21
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
78.13
Syracuse University
78.11
University of Richmond
77.90
Lafayette College
77.86
Colorado College
77.85
Fordham University
77.75
Trinity College
77.30
University of Delaware
77.14
Stony Brook University
77.02
American University
76.63
Furman University
76.57
Occidental College
76.47
Reed College
76.35