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US News is knows for it annual college ranking.  Accordin CNN 

  • Rankings include the “reputation survey,” which is filled out by college presidents
  • It asks academic leaders to rate other colleges; results count for 25% of rankings
  • Critics claim survey isn’t a valid basis for judging the quality of education
  •  U.S. News editor: “It is a way for students to get intangibles about colleges

I recently read few articles about U.S. Colleges and Universities not participating in U.S. News Ranking System. I have always told student, when short listing universities. Because, it doesn’t give you an overview or in-depth view a current student would give about aid/part-time jobs and average salary people get after graduation.

How U.S. News ranks Colleges?

  • Peer assessment : 25 %( the largest single factor ).
  • Faculty Retention: 20 %
  • Faculty resources : 20 %
  • Student selectivity: 15 %
  • Financial resources: 10 %
  • Graduation rate performance: 5 %
  • Alumni giving rate: 5 %

Lets deal with the practical issues/questions an International Student will have in mind and see how percent will be applicable them.

Criteria for International Student would be like this:

  • Availability Part Time/RA/TA : 50%
  • Cheap cost of Living : 20%
  • Quality Compared to Academic Performance : 30%

Above applies to most of the student who are planning to study in U.S. This equation might now apply someone who has exceptional academic record. And majority will not come under that category.

Typical Questions asked by a student before Short Listing University:

  • Will I get Admission for for my Academic Credentials ( GRE, TOEFL, Academic %, Backlogs)?
  • How much is fees per semester?
  • Will I get Aid/Part Time jobs
  • Whats the cost of living per month?
  • What is the temperature like?

If you carefully consider more about how someone short lists university…Let me guess how majority of student short list universities?

  • Friend(s) are studying in the in a particular school
  • Friend’s friend said, that school has lots of part time jobs and aid
  • Relative live in nearby town
  • Universities applied by consultants
  • Following U.S. News Ranking system and random selection of college
  • Using the ranking system provided by i20fever.com

Let me ask this question..How many of you have short listed universities based on research interests. My final year project is on topic XYZ. Professor ABC from University of XYZ is doing research and has few million in funding and I want to do research under him?

It will be very handful of the people who does this kind of research and apply for school.