Finally, a college ranking list that is actually useful for students

We all read the college ranking lists. Even if we try to tell ourselves that you can’t quantify what makes a school “good” and that it’s all subjective and about finding the right fit for you, we can’t help but take a peek to see if our dream school is climbing the rankings. But, when you read one of those “best college” lists, what are they really ranking?

The term can be so subjective, and what you consider the “best” is contingent on what kind of education you’re looking for. These lists also rate the colleges at face value, and don’t investigate the intricacies that come with higher education. Combatting this trend is what Money magazine got right in its new and previously unheard of method of ranking colleges. The new Money list orders colleges by value, by bang-for-your-buck, focusing on three key aspects: educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings.

To figure it all out, Money took at look at things like merit aid, parent and student borrowing, the length of time to graduate and tuition increases, while also accounting for how well students did compared to how well they generally would be expected to do based on their academic and economic backgrounds. Then, the people at Money took a look at how well the alums of these colleges were doing, before mixing it all together in one big magic pot and baking up perhaps the first useful college ranking list ever created.

Some of the schools that made the cut are no brainers, like Stanford, MIT, Princeton and other “brand name” schools. But the list is also shining a spotlight on some smaller schools that you might have overlooked during your search, like Babson College. Check out the list for yourself to find your own perfect fit (especially if value is high on your list of priorities in choosing a college).

This list is extremely helpful as we’re about to enter another season of college applications and frantic searching for what students hope will be a perfect blend of education, fun and employability. This list gets you closer to figuring that out. Good luck!

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