What do you make of different UG school ranking systems?

  • Please review the updated member agreement. Included is a new statement supporting the scientific method and evidence-based medicine. Claims or statements about disease processes should reference widely accepted scientific resources. Theoretical medical speculation is encouraged as part of the overall scientific process. However, unscientific statements that promote unfounded ideological positions or agendas may be removed.

robbieflick

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2011
62
0
Denver, CO
Status
Pre-Medical
Just saw this yesterday:

http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/

...and immediately was excited to see my small liberal arts school ranked higher than many of the traditionally more prestigious schools in the country.

Do these 'alternate' rankings really matter though? Is U.S. News and World Report essentially the gold standard when it comes to these things?

If that's the case, I'd also like to know why - the Forbes ranking system seems a bit more commonsensical. Of course it serves my purposes better so I'm a tad biased :laugh:
 

AestheticMed

Doctorate in Broscience
Jul 30, 2011
291
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Honestly, just go somewhere you like and which gives you the best bang for your buck.
 
About the Ads

Narmerguy

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2007
6,878
1,308
Firstly, the USNews will always rein supreme. For the colleges that are ranked highly in Forbes but aren't for USNews, they may brag about this measure on their brochures and things like that. But when parents are looking for the best college to send little Jimmy so he can become a fancy Investment Banker and tear up Wall Street, they're choosing the USNews rankings as their guide (it fits that "subjective" prestige metric better.

Secondly, remember that SDN is pretty unreceptive to any discussion about ranking or prestige. That's good and bad at times but it's simply part of the "culture" that you find here. Think critically about this stuff for yourself and don't necessarily feel compelled to believe anything I or anyone else tells you.

Like any ranking, Forbes has their biases and you need only look at their methodology to reveal it.

Our annual ranking of the 650 best undergraduate institutions focuses on the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt. Unlike other lists, we pointedly ignore ephemeral measures such as school "reputation" and ill-conceived metrics that reward wasteful spending. We try and evaluate the college purchase as a consumer would: Is it worth spending as much as a quarter of a million dollars for this degree? The rankings are prepared exclusively for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a Washington, D.C. think tank founded by Ohio University economist Richard Vedder.
For the second year in a row, Williams College, a small, western-Massachusetts liberal arts school, has been named as the best undergraduate institution in America. With total annual costs adding up to nearly $55,000, a Williams education is certainly not cheap, but the 2,000 undergraduates here have among the highest four-year graduation rates in the country, win loads of prestigious national awards like Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, and are often rewarded with high-paying careers.
Because of our emphasis on financial prudence, the zero-cost military service academies rank highly. West Point, which topped the list two years ago, ranks third this time, thanks to outstanding teaching (#3) and high alumni salaries (#8), while the Air Force Academy (#10) and the Naval Academy (#17) glide easily into the top 20. Even the less prestigious academies – the Coast Guard (#97) and the Merchant Marine (#158) — score well
The rankings are based on five general categories: Post Graduate success (30%), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence, Student Satisfaction (27.5%), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates, Debt (17.5%), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates, Four Year Graduation Rate (17.5%) and Competitive Awards (7.5%), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright.
When you look at this stuff, you can tell that their bias is on someone who wants to get their best $$ value, not necessarily the best opportunities. For example, the military academies (ranked as high as top 5) may not actually be better than UPenn (ranked 50) in their education or the opportunities they provide. However, the military academies are free and UPenn costs $50,000+ per year so in this Forbes ranking, that shoots the academies to the top.
 

robbieflick

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2011
62
0
Denver, CO
Status
Pre-Medical
Honestly, just go somewhere you like and which gives you the best bang for your buck.
Already been to school - it was curious to me that the school I've graduated from according to one system is ranked so different from the traditional ranking system.
 
K

kpcrew

My schools is relatively high on both but there are a lot of fantastic universities that are way too low like cornell or carnegie mellon and in my opinion, they overrated a lot of liberal arts schools on forbes.
I picked my school because it gave me the most money, not because of rankings and that's probably how it's going to be for medical school too, if I'm provided the opportunity to choose.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Jul 20, 2011
29
20
Status
Pre-Medical
Just saw this yesterday:

http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/

...and immediatelywas excited to see my small liberal arts school ranked higher than many of the traditionally more prestigious schools in the country.

Do these 'alternate' rankings really matter though? Is U.S. News and World Report essentially the gold standard when it comes to these things?

If that's the case, I'd also like to know why - the Forbes ranking system seems a bit more commonsensical. Of course it serves my purposes better so I'm a tad biased :laugh:


These rankings are always fun to look at but don't pay too much attention to it. Otherwise your letting others tell you your worth.
 

robbieflick

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2011
62
0
Denver, CO
Status
Pre-Medical
Firstly, the USNews will always rein supreme. For the colleges that are ranked highly in Forbes but aren't for USNews, they may brag about this measure on their brochures and things like that. But when parents are looking for the best college to send little Jimmy so he can become a fancy Investment Banker and tear up Wall Street, they're choosing the USNews rankings as their guide (it fits that "subjective" prestige metric better.

Secondly, remember that SDN is pretty unreceptive to any discussion about ranking or prestige. That's good and bad at times but it's simply part of the "culture" that you find here. Think critically about this stuff for yourself and don't necessarily feel compelled to believe anything I or anyone else tells you.
Thanks - this is not about me boasting about prestige, rather curious as to others' views on different ranking systems and how they're formulated. Because GPA is intrinsically tied to the tier of the institution where you achieved it, it strikes me as a pertinent issue.

Furthermore it's not affecting any decision, simply trying to reconcile a school ranked in the 100's according to one system, and beating out Ivies according to another one.
 

Narmerguy

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2007
6,878
1,308
Thanks - this is not about me boasting about prestige, rather curious as to others' views on different ranking systems and how they're formulated. Because GPA is intrinsically tied to the tier of the institution where you achieved it, it strikes me as a pertinent issue.

Furthermore it's not affecting any decision, simply trying to reconcile a school ranked in the 100's according to one system, and beating out Ivies according to another one.
Oh I was more speaking to the SDN public than to you directly.

I really don't like either. I think there are ways to rank schools that might be more valuable that isn't really done, probably because it's not as financially valuable...it can only be as financially worthwhile as the reading public considers it I suppose.
 
Feb 4, 2010
369
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm not a fan of this list... Looking at my state schools, the ones that ranked higher were schools that people don't want to go to because they aren't good...
 

Stumpyman

7+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2011
2,319
140
If I MUST drool over rankings, I'd rather use US news, forbes just lists a bunch of small private colleges (Wofford is ranked higher than Berkely, that school is a joke even in SC).
 

Charles Darwin

KFBR392
Jun 19, 2011
1,168
4
CA, USA
Status
Non-Student
Forbes is garbage compared to USNews.
 

Espadaleader

10+ Year Member
May 27, 2010
1,434
774
Status
Medical Student
Firstly, the USNews will always rein supreme. For the colleges that are ranked highly in Forbes but aren't for USNews, they may brag about this measure on their brochures and things like that. But when parents are looking for the best college to send little Jimmy so he can become a fancy Investment Banker and tear up Wall Street, they're choosing the USNews rankings as their guide (it fits that "subjective" prestige metric better.

Secondly, remember that SDN is pretty unreceptive to any discussion about ranking or prestige. That's good and bad at times but it's simply part of the "culture" that you find here. Think critically about this stuff for yourself and don't necessarily feel compelled to believe anything I or anyone else tells you.

Like any ranking, Forbes has their biases and you need only look at their methodology to reveal it.









When you look at this stuff, you can tell that their bias is on someone who wants to get their best $$ value, not necessarily the best opportunities. For example, the military academies (ranked as high as top 5) may not actually be better than UPenn (ranked 50) in their education or the opportunities they provide. However, the military academies are free and UPenn costs $50,000+ per year so in this Forbes ranking, that shoots the academies to the top.
Who are you? You're like a sage man. Everything you say is top-notch.
 

Narmerguy

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2007
6,878
1,308
Who are you? You're like a sage man. Everything you say is top-notch.
I'm glad to actually be helpful. Just trying to continue the cycle since I've definitely benefited a lot from knowing this site. Pay it forward and all that...
 

Perrotfish

Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
8,232
4,394
Status
Attending Physician
Jul 11, 2010
155
2
Status
usual sdn responses to anything about ranking:

student in "lowly ranked" or "no name" school: rankings don't matter at all! it's all about the individual!

student in "highly ranked" or "prestigious" school: rankings don't sway adcoms THAT much, but it does play a role.

reality: if you were an ADCOM, would you choose the 4.0/35 MCAT student from harvard or 4.0/35MCAT from south east north west joseph schmoesph iowa state? yeah, yeah, personality, extracurriculars, personal statement, LORs, your overall application, race/ethnicity, and all that other good stuff matters too.


all i'm saying is that any advantage helps in the admissions process. is that advantage worth $40,000+/yr for 4 years (or more)? is it worth it to invest that much in your future? that's up to you and your parents to figure out. at the end of the day, you should go to the most competitive school that you can get into,"fit" into, and afford. it helps if there's a med school/hospital attached where you can shadow, research, and gain other health related experience.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
10+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2009
16,308
5,697
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I can honestly say, I don't recognize more than 10 schools in the top 50. The rater really has a hard on for liberal arts colleges that no one has heard off, I swear.
 
About the Ads