U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

Applying to College? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!Last week U.S. News released the 30th edition of its college rankings. New information found on school profile pages (but not taken into consideration for rankings) include data on campus crime and security and a summary of three-year federal loan default rates. Interesting categories for ranking include Economic Diversity, Campus Ethnic Diversity, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

Here are some highlights:

Top 10 Best U.S. Universities

1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Columbia University (NY)
4. Stanford University (CA)
4. University of Chicago (IL)
7. Massachusetts Institute of technology (MA)
8. Duke University (NC)
8. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
10. California Institute of Technology (CA)

Top 5 Best Value Universities

1. Harvard University (MA)
2. Princeton University (NJ)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Stanford University (CA)
5. MIT (MA)

Top 5 Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Amherst College (MA)
2. Williams College (MA)
3. Pomona College (CA)
4. Wellesley College (MA)
5. Soka University of America (CA)

Top 10 Best Undergraduate Business Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania (PA)
2. MIT (MA)
2. University of California – Berkeley (CA)
4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (MI)
5. New York University (NY)
6. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
6. University of Virginia (VA)
8. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
8. Indiana University – Bloomington (IN)
8. University of Texas – Austin

John Byrne from Poets & Quants provides an analysis of these rankings (the undergraduate business ones) and shares additional highlights from the top 50, including the following:

• Within the top 10 and certainly within the top 5, there was little change from last year – just a little switching around here and there, including Cornell and Notre Dame which both fell from the top 10, from 10th place last year to 11th this year.

• Big jumpers in the top 25 include the University of Georgia and Michigan State which both climbed six spots to 21st place (they share this position with six other programs, including University of Maryland, which fell three places this year). In the top 50, University of Pittsburgh took the largest leap, from 49th place last year to 39th this year. Babson jumped five places from 34th to 29th.

• Ohio State University fell four places, finishing in 20th this year; Southern Methodist University dropped seven spots from 38th last year to 45th this year.

• Wharton received the highest score (4.8 out of 5) on the index scale (1 being “marginal” and 5 being “distinguished”).

See the U.S. News Ranking Methodology and the P&Q article for details on how these schools were ranked.

For a critique of the U.S. News rankings (and how the rankings actually hurt students and applicants), see this Vox article.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

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Related Resources:

• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• 3 Mistakes Successful College Applicants Don’t Make
• Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors

Vault’s 2015 Banking Rankings

The following banks were rated based on the issues that matter to bankers: prestige, hours, compensation, work-life balance, firm culture, overall satisfaction, business outlook, and other “quality of life” categories. For each of these parameters, other than prestige, the banking professionals rated their own place of work. They rated other intuitions and not their own for prestige.

And here are the rankings!

Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services

Vault Bank Rankings 2015

(See the full rankings here.)

Here are some highlights from the rankings:

• Goldman Sachs ranks in 1st place for prestige, but for quality of life issues, specifically hours and work-life balance, it ranks in 15th place. Blackstone, on the other hand, ranked in the top 5 for each of the quality of life categories.

• Overall, work-life balance ratings are on the rise within these top companies, as are diversity ratings.

• Two years ago, J.P. Morgan ranked in 1st place; this year they’ve dropped to 4th place.

• Big jumpers include Moelis & Company (23rd last year to 12th this year) and UBS AG (26th last year to 19th this year), as well as Canaccord Genuity and Guggenheim Securities, LLC which both made it to top 25 (17th and 24th place respectively) this year and were not ranked at all last year.

• For more analysis, please see “Vault’s 2015 Banking Rankings are Live.”

Source: Vault Banking Rankings

MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance

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Related Resources:

• Which Business School Will Get Me to Wall Street?
• The Facts About Financial Services
• Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services

How to Interpret the Med School Rankings

For many, the first step towards choosing which med schools to apply to begins with an investigation into the published med school rankings. But do you really know what all those numbers and data mean? Do you really understand how you should be utilizing this information best? How much value should you place on the rankings? How can they really help YOU?

Answers to these questions (plus more) can be found in our new special report, Med School Rankings and Numbers: What You MUST Know, in which we’ll walk you through a detailed and down-to-earth analysis of the med school rankings.

Med Ranking Report Cover

Download your FREE copy of Med School Rankings and Numbers: What You MUST Know now!




Are MBA Rankings REALLY Important?

What do the MBA rankings mean to you? What will they teach you? Should you trust them? Are MBA rankings REALLY important?

In our special report, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know, newly updated and expanded for 2014, Linda Abraham will walk you through the process of locating the rankings, sifting through them for the important information, analyzing the relevant data, and then finally, USING that information to help you choose the best MBA program for YOU.


The rankings ARE an important tool, but they’re also a tool that can easily be abused. Learn how to use the rankings properly when you download MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know today!



Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Paid Grads

Think you need a grad degree to rake in the big bucks? Not if you’re lucky enough to land a job after graduating from one of the schools on the list below! A recent Forbes article pooled data from a survey released by NerdScholar.

Looking for college admissions advice? Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!

Note: The list here only includes schools that released their salary data to NerdScholar. This is why schools like Yale, Harvard, and Brown are missing from the list. Also, to put things in perspective, there are more than 4,500 degree-granting colleges in the U.S., and NerdScholar only received data for 184 schools within 57 different institutions.

For those schools that didn’t provide salary info, NerdScholar still tracks their graduates using other data – for example, what percent of the class is employed, what percent goes on to grad school, and what sorts of careers students are choosing.

You can use this tool (here) to compare these sorts of stats at different programs. It’s a lot of fun to sift and compare results, and NerdScholar argues that this school-provided data is more reliable than the self-reported data presented by the students to salary sites like PayScale.

See the Forbes article for the full list of 50 schools, as well as an explanation on the methodology used in this ranking.

Download 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid to learn how to eliminate the most common flaws in your application essays.