Last week there was a really great article in The New York Times about the Student Choice Rankings, the annual ranking of colleges based on where admitted students are electing to attend. We are thrilled with the article, but its possible that readers might have walked away thinking the data were from our Parchment Exchange (eTranscript delivery) services. They were not.
We wanted to take the opportunity to delve deeper into how these statistics are generated, and where the data originates.
In addition to operating Parchment Exchange, we also have developed a set of undergraduate admissions tools for our secondary school Members and their students. The admissions tools are powered by the aggregated data of other users of those same tools. Its an opt-in experience, not an opt-out. This is partially why the total size of the dataset was so small. A feature of the admissions tools is the ability of students to maintain and curate their list of interested colleges, including status changes to apply, accepted, etc. Students report back this information in part to keep their list up to date, but also because the aggregated data from prior users are what allowed them to benefit from the insights of the admissions tools themselves.
As for the specific methodology, our site has a helpful overview.
If you are interested, we were inspired to do the analysis based on an academic paper by Chris Avery and several co-authors.
Hopefully this provides clarification on how the Student Choice Rankings data were collected and analyzed.