How to Choose a College
U.S. News evaluates educational quality by looking inside colleges at measures like faculty-student ratios, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
I think the U.S. News rankings ought to get a D. They're roughly equivalent to evaluating a chef based on the ingredients he or she uses. At the Center for College Affordability & Productivity, a two-year-old research organization in Washington, D.C. with a free-market bent, we evaluate colleges on results. Do students like their courses? How successful are they once they graduate? In short, we review the meal.
Our measures begin with student evaluations posted on Ratemyprofessors.com, a nine-year-old site with 6.8 million student-generated evaluations. We look at college graduation rates (as does U.S. News). We also calculate the percent of students winning awards like Rhodes Scholarships and undergraduate Fulbright travel grants. For vocational success we turn to Who's Who in America. Though imperfect, it is the only comprehensive listing of professional achievement that includes undergraduate affiliations.