NEW YORK, Oct. — Climbing-walls and organic mac-n-cheese are cool, but what really defines a great college in 2013 is how well it prepares you for life after commencement. With that in mind, The Daily Beast crunched the data for almost 2,000 colleges and universities across the country, factoring in everything that students actually care about—from affordability to future earnings to diversity to activities—to come up with a list of the very best schools in terms of real value. Our Top 200 includes category-specific rankings for the partiers and bookworms.
College rankings are ubiquitous, confusing, and often indiscriminate. The Daily Beast’s Down + Dirty Guide to the Best Colleges aims to change that, ranking schools primarily on what students actually care about: their shot at getting a good job, and making a good living.
According to a 2012 survey of college freshmen by the Higher Education Research Institute, 88% said getting a “better job” is “very important”—above things like becoming a more “cultured person” and learning “more about things that interest me.” The desire to “make more money” hit an all-time high, with 75% saying it was very important.
With this in mind, The Daily Beast analyzed nearly 2,000 four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in the U.S. We used publicly available data and data collected and published by College Prowler, an online guide created by students that ranks hundreds of colleges on everything from the intelligence of professors to attractiveness of students. Criteria for The Daily Beast’s rankings includes future earnings, quality of education, affordability and diversity.
Top ten schools:
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Columbia University, New York, NY
Princeton, University, Princeton, NJ
University of California, Berkeley, CA
Williams College, Williamstown, MA
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA