Parchment announces the 2014 Student Choice Ranking

Parchment announces the 2014 Student Choice Ranking

Ranking System Reflects Students’ College Preferences

student-choice-2014-lgGiven the choice, where do students prefer to go to college?

Parchment reveals the 3rd annual Student Choice College Rankings, the only college ranking based solely on student admittance and enrollment choice data.

Each year millions of students across the US make a potentially life-changing decision: where to go to college. They consider where they have been admitted, and they make a critical choice. Today, Parchment, the leader in education credentials technology, releases its 2014 Parchment Student Choice College Rankings, which directly reveals students’ college preferences and enrollment decisions.

The Parchment Student Choice College Rankings is the only college ranking that is 100% derived from admittance and enrollment choice data.  Unlike rankings based on subjective judgments or on factors subject to gaming, such as selectivity or test scores, Parchment Student Choice College Rankings methodology is based on which college a student chooses to attend among all of the institutions where they are admitted.

Austin Arca of Irvine, CA applied to universities across the country, and was admitted to University of Cincinnati, Rochester Institute of Technology, San Jose State University, Syracuse University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Drexel University.  He ultimately chose to enroll at University of Cincinnati, he said, because its “…industrial design program (DAAP) is #1 in the country and it has a co-op program.”

Parchment’s list mirrors how students review and make choices within the college landscape – ultimately a mix of public and private schools, universities and colleges. The 2014 Student Choice Rankings includes eight liberal arts colleges and 17 universities in the top 25.   And while the top five rated schools look familiar, this year’s 25 highest-ranking schools revealed some notable differences versus 2013. Six new schools entered the top 25, including three liberal arts colleges:  Haverford College, Bates College, and Wellesley College. Harvey Mudd College, notably, rose from 24 to number eight in 2014, and was one of two Claremont Colleges that landed in the top 10.

The Top 25 institutions in the 2014 Student Choice College Rankings are:

1. Stanford University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Harvard University
4. Princeton University
5. Duke University
6. Yale University
7. Caltech
8. Harvey Mudd College
8. Pomona College
10. Brown University
11. Georgetown University
12. University of Pennsylvania
13. Columbia University
14. University of Chicago
15. Haverford College
16. Swarthmore College
17. Tufts University
18. Amherst College
19. University of California Berkeley
20. Middlebury College
21. Bates College
22. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
23. Vanderbilt University
24. Wellesley College
25. Dartmouth College

For the complete 2014 Student Choice College Rankings list, visit

The Parchment 2014 Student Choice Rankings is calculated from over 250,000 student decisions.  And students offered additional insight into the real reasons that drive preferences and choices, including proximity to home; overall reputation, reputation related to the student’s major; curriculum and honors programs; cost, scholarship and financial aid options; institution size; connection to family and friends; and nice campus and facilities.

Natalie Wainwright of Algonquin, IL was admitted to schools that ranged from a private, Catholic university, to a research institution in Boston to large, Midwest state schools.  She could have attended University of Kentucky, Seton Hall, Suffolk University, University of Maine, Miami University or West Virginia University.  But she chose Miami University because it is a “beautiful campus with my major.”

Parchment employs a widely accepted tournament rankings methodology, a formula similar to the one used for chess masters, to arrive at its final rankings.  When a student chooses and enrolls in a school, that school earns points and the schools to which the student is accepted but does not attend lose points.  This point data is combined with another layer of point awards based on which institutions are expected to come out in the top positions.  At the end of each school year Parchment reviews the points each school has earned based on its methodology to arrive at its rankings for the next school year.

Acceptance and enrollment data comes from, where students collect and present all their education credentials to make the most of their education and career opportunities, and get valuable data to help them find the right fit for college.

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