Parchment News

Not Your Mother’s College Rankings

Parchment Staff  •  Sep 07, 2016  •  Blog

It’s that time of year again – time for the flurry of college rankings. What are the most affordable colleges? What are the best college to get a chemical engineering degree? What is the best party school? The list of college rankings can be overwhelming but what we think really matters is what colleges students are choosing.

Since 2012, Parchment annually announces the results of its annual Parchment Student Choice College Rankings study.  The unique thing about Parchment’s rankings is that they are based on REAL STUDENT CHOICES (that’s where we get the fancy name, Student Choice College Rankings).

2017 Student Choice Logo small

Each year, students apply to colleges. Plural. Oftentimes, they are accepted to colleges. Also plural. When they have an admission acceptance to multiple schools and need to choose between two schools, we call that a match up. Parchment treats student’s college choices like a chess tournament. (stick with us here). We rank schools by all-time total matchups won against another school and then we assign points. The Ivy leagues get less points when they win a match against a state school but when that state school is selected over the Ivy, that state school gets more points. Bonus!

So, all that explanation to say that in the sixth year of revealing student choices in college rankings, mission-oriented schools like Pomona College, United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy attract students who share their purpose and consequently are chosen by students that had more than one admissions acceptance.

The Top 25 Student Choice Colleges for 2017 include (ranking from prior year in parenthesis)

* denotes not on list last year

  1. Pomona College (12)
  2. United States Air Force Academy (33)
  3. United States Military Academy (6)
  4. United States Naval Academy (9)
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2)
  6. Caltech (14)
  7. University of Pennsylvania (7)
  8. Stanford University (1)
  9. United States Coast Guard Academy (*)
  10. Brown University (15)
  11. Bowdoin College (13)
  12. Dartmouth College (42)
  13. University of Notre Dame (18)

    t-13. Columbia University in the City of New York (23)

  1. University of California, Berkeley (19)
  2. Princeton University (17)
  3. Yale University (5)
  4. Swarthmore College (11)
  5. University of California, Los Angeles (22)
  6. Wellesley College (49)
  7. Pitzer College (70)
  8. Harvard University (41)
  9. Texas A&M International University (30)
  10.  Harvey Mudd College (3)
  11. University of Toronto (16)

In addition to the Parchment Student Choice College Rankings, Parchment offers a series of free college tools to help college-bound students build their lists, compare their admissions chances against other students that were accepted, and much more.

There’s always more to learn.

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Admissions Enrollment Advisor looking at student transcripts