**2006 Rankings with Sortable Data**

College & University Rankings

Most college ranking systems (U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, etc.) focus solely on academic criteria or intangible surveys that critics claim (and rightly so) provide a skewed result.  These lists provide a more well-rounded view.  They rank 126 colleges and universities in approximately 30 different areas that are organized into 4 separate categories (Academics, Athletics, Quality of Life and Tuition and Costs), which are then averaged together to produce overall rankings.   Although the best overall average is held by Princeton, students who are more interested in Athletics should take a close look at Kenyon College in Ohio.  Quality of Life?  Try Williams College or the University of Notre Dame.

The data is set forth on linked pages for each of the 4 major categories, and then averaged for an overall ranking.  For example, the top five schools based on SATs are:


1.         California Institute of Technology             1520

2.         Harvard University                                  1485

3.         Princeton University                               1470

4.         Massachusetts Institute of Technology    1467

5.         Pomona College                                    1460              for full list click here

But the top five schools based on National Merit Scholars per student (a unit that can be referred to as the “average National Merit Scholar”) are:

                               National Merit Scholars

1.         Harvard University                                   0.0685

2.         Rice University                                       0.0578

3.         California Institute of Technology              0.0552

4.         Yale University                                       0.0532

5.         Princeton University                                0.0446        for full list click here

And when you average those together with each of the other data points in the Academics category, you get surprise, surprise –the following top five schools:

                               Academics Overall

1.         Harvard University

2.         Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3.         Princeton University

4.         Yale University

5.         Stanford University                                                    for full list click here

Actually, not much of a surprise there.  On the other hand, the top five schools based on national football championships since 1930 (remember, 2003 and earlier data) is:

                              Football Championships

1.         University of Notre Dame                        9

2.         University of Alabama                             8

3.         University of Southern California              8

4.         University of Oklahoma                           7

5.         University of Minnesota                           6                 for full list click here

And if you average all the data points for all the categories (on a non-weighted basis), you get this, which is pretty interesting (free tuition helps!):

                                Overall Average Ranking

1.         Princeton University

2.         Stanford University

3.         University of North Carolina

4.         Williams College

5.         Yale University

6.         Harvard University

7.         University of Virginia

8.         U.S. Naval Academy

9.         Amherst College (tie)

9.         Columbia University (tie)                                          for full list click here

Note that these rankings do not necessarily list the schools with the most or highest in any given category.  There are 126 schools represented and they were chosen somewhat arbitrarily, although an effort was made to ensure that the schools with the best numbers in any given sub-category were included (for example, the school with the fourth most NCAA championships in the country? Abilene Christian University with 53).

The lists are broken into four general categories: 

·        Academics              

·        Sports                                  

·        Quality of Life                    

·        Cost

 The four categories are further broken down as follows:



  • Average SAT scores
  • National Merit Scholars
  • Top 10% of high school
  • % applicants accepted
  • Faculty awards
  • NationalAcademy members

  • Intramural sports programs
  • Intercollegiate sports programs
  • NCAA Championships (all sports)
  • Football (bowl appearances, bowl wins & national championships)
  • Basketball (Final Four appearances and national championships)

Quality of Life


  • Freshman retention rate
  • Four year graduation rate
  • Yield (percentage of accepted students who attend)
  • Endowment per student
  • Acres per student
  • Number of companies recruiting
  • Tuition
  • Out of state tuition (if applicable)
  • Room & Board
  • Average financial aid package
  • Average graduate debt

They are then recompiled to provide a Weighted Average, which skews the numbers in favor of schools that score well in the Academics area (they are, after all, schools), a Median and an Overall Average, which is what produces the University of North Carolina as the number two school in the country.



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