The Most Economically Diverse Colleges in the U.S.

Check out our College Admissions 101 Pages!According to the New York Times recent diversity rankings, the following colleges and universities have made the greatest efforts to admit students from economically diverse backgrounds, meaning, a larger share of low-income families. The schools were chosen based on the number of students receiving Pell Grants (students must be in the bottom 40% of the income distribution to be eligible) and the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families.

Top 20 Economically Diverse Colleges

1. Vassar

2. Grinnell

3. UNC – Chapel Hill

4. Smith

5. Amherst

6. Harvard

7. St. Mary’s (Indiana)

8. Pomona

9. Susquehanna

10. Columbia

11. Rice

12. Kalamazoo

13. Wesleyan

14. Denison

15. Barnard

16. Brown

17. Williams

18. Stanford

19. MIT

20. Haverford

The New York Times lead article on these rankings states the importance of the efforts made by these schools:

“This education gap is a problem not only for the teenagers on the wrong end of it. It’s a problem for the American economy. The economic differences between college graduates and everyone else have reached record levels. Yet for many low-income children – even many who get A’s in high school and do well on the SAT – college remains out of reach. No wonder that upward mobility is less common in the United States than in many other rich countries.”

A few more highlights:

 • 23% of students at Vassar’s freshmen received federal Pell grants. In 2007, that number was only at 12%. Lower income students pay roughly $6,000 per year for tuition, much of which is earned through loans and campus jobs.

 • Only 8% of students at Washington University in St. Louis receive Pell grants (compared to 6% and 5% in the last few years), even though this school is ranked as one of the top 25 riches colleges in the U.S. The point: Just because a school has a high endowment, that doesn’t mean that it is more likely to open its doors to lower-income students. In fact, Susquehanna (who has the highest number of Pell-eligible students at 25%) and Wesleyan (at 18%) have relatively small endowments and students from lower-income families make up a rather large part of the student body.

 • In 2008, only one out of three high achieving (top 4%) low-income high school seniors attended a selective college.

An Inside Higher Ed article on the subject offers the following points:

 • To make the list, schools had to have a four-year graduation rate of 75% or higher; therefore, some schools with high Pell-eligible student populations weren’t ranked, in particular, UC Berkeley which has more than 27% of students on Pell Grants. (But only a 71% four year graduation rate.)

 • 46% of students at CUNY Baruch receive Pell Grants, but they too were under the 75% limit (by far, at 39%).

 • The article points out that only three public institutions made it to the list – University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary (also in Virginia), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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• Tips for Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
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College Admissions 101

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 Helping You Write Your Best

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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 Helping You Write Your Best

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• 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!