Forbes’ America’s Best Colleges List

Forbes just released a list of America’s best colleges to try to complete with the US News & World Report rankings.

In conjunction with Dr. Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University, and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, inaugurates its first ranking of America’s Best Colleges, an annual list. In this report, the CCAP ranks 569 undergraduate institutions based on the quality of the education they provide, and how much their students achieve.

I have some concerns about how they are evaluating which school are better. My major concern is that the list uses 25% of the weight they give to school from the average ratings of teachers on RateMyProfessors. Although I consider it a good site and use it to evaluate my own teachers, this rewards easy schools and school with grade inflation as students are more likely to write favorable reviews. Anyhow, take a look at the list below and let me know what you think:

  1. Princeton University
  2. California Institute of Technology
  3. Harvard University
  4. Swarthmore College
  5. Williams College
  6. United States Military Academy
  7. Amherst College
  8. Wellesley College
  9. Yale University
  10. Columbia University
  11. Northwestern University
  12. Wabash College
  13. Centre College
  14. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  15. Bowdoin College
  16. United States Air Force Academy
  17. Middlebury College
  18. University of Chicago
  19. Smith College
  20. Pomona College
  21. Wesleyan University
  22. Haverford College
  23. Stanford University
  24. Hamilton College
  25. Sarah Lawrence College
  26. Barnard College
  27. Brown University
  28. Whitman College
  29. New College of Florida
  30. Brandeis University
  31. Vassar College
  32. Boston College
  33. Bryn Mawr College
  34. Kenyon College
  35. Franklin and Marshall College
  36. United States Naval Academy
  37. Colby College
  38. Washington and Lee University
  39. Westminster College
  40. Claremont McKenna College
  41. Rice University
  42. Cooper Union
  43. University of Virginia
  44. Colgate University
  45. Bates College
  46. Knox College
  47. DePauw University
  48. Tufts University
  49. College of William and Mary
  50. Hampden-Sydney College
  51. Oberlin College
  52. Harvey Mudd College
  53. Lafayette College
  54. Carleton College
  55. St. John’s College
  56. Hampshire College
  57. Kalamazoo College
  58. Trinity College
  59. Doane College
  60. Connecticut College
  61. University of Pennsylvania
  62. Wofford College
  63. Drew University
  64. Reed College
  65. Huntington University
  66. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  67. Sewanee University of the South
  68. Lawrence University
  69. Wake Forest University
  70. Mount Holyoke College
  71. Cornell College
  72. Wesleyan College
  73. University of California, Berkeley
  74. Colorado College
  75. Mills College
  76. Georgetown University
  77. University of Notre Dame
  78. Nebraska Wesleyan University
  79. College of the Holy Cross
  80. Duke University
  81. Johns Hopkins University
  82. Emory University
  83. Bellarmine University
  84. Dickinson College
  85. Salem College
  86. Bucknell University
  87. St. Olaf College
  88. Bard College
  89. Wheaton College
  90. Clarke College
  91. Wheaton College
  92. Skidmore College
  93. Davidson College
  94. Earlham College
  95. Erskine College
  96. Carroll University
  97. Hendrix College
  98. Emory and Henry College
  99. Union College
  100. Bethany College

17 Thoughts on “Forbes’ America’s Best Colleges List”

  1. Although I have no obvious problem with the list I have the same concerns that you do that using ratings on and giving those ratings 25% weight is probably not the best way to do things. Along with rewarding schools whose teachers inflate grades, the system might not be fair to really small schools where a couple of terrible teachers could really affect the overall rating.

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  3. I go to Knox College and my sister attends Georgetown University. I love my school, but there’s no competition, especially with internships: Georgetown should NOT be so low. That’s really surprising. Knox should be in the top 50; that’s right. I just think Georgetown should probably be in there too.

  4. If you read the methodology of the rankings ( you will see that the evaluations were in fact weighted for easiness, so the concern about grade inflation is at least mitigated, if not completely eliminated.

    As for the concern about biasing against small schools, this seems unlikely to be the case considering how many of the top 100 are small liberal arts colleges.

  5. Apparently Michigan isn’t a top 100 university, Centre college is better than Stanford, and Duke is the eightieth best college in the US. Couldn’t be stupider.

  6. Aakash, I guess it makes you feel better by bashing Centre- I’m assuming you have never heard of it. However I really have a hard time taking you seriously because you said ‘stupider.’ That just made me laugh.

  7. As someone who chose UC Berkeley #73 on this list, over Swarthmore #4, I am rather dumbfounded at these rankings. But then again I take the rankings with a grain of salt.

  8. This is ridiculous- leave the rankings to US News and World Report. They are much more accurate and take more important factors into consideration and weigh them accordingly. Not to mention they break it down many more factors than just straight undergraduate schools with students who are happy with their teachers. Forbes should stick to what it is good at- being the People Magazine of the financial industry. I would put no weight on what Forbes thinks are the best schools.

  9. where is the big ten love? are none of the 11 schools good enough for the list. I fear that this list, although it gives plenty of love to schools that may not get as much national recognition, only highlights ivy league and unknowns. where is univ of texas, univ. of michigan, northwestern, USC or any school that might have a team we can see during march madness?

  10. terrible list, purdue isnt even listed and wabash college has highly inflated grades.

  11. I am not doubting your list here. but why isn’t the University of Texas or the University of Oklahoma not on the list?

  12. @Shon: There were many factors considered. A large part of the factor were the RateMyProfessor ratings and average happiness of students. Both University of Texas and University of Oklahoma did not do poorly but they did not make the top 100 in the overall list. Don’t blame us. Blame Forbes :)

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  15. Seemingly Mich isn’t a high 100 college or university, Center faculty surpasses Stanford, and even Duke could be the eightieth ideal university or college in the usa. Couldn’t become stupider.

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