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.

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• Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: A Four Part Series for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors

10 U.S. Med Schools with the Lowest Price Tags

U.S. News reports on the ten least expensive private med schools in the U.S. They are as follows:

Check out our Medical School Admissions 101 pages for excellent med school admissions advice!

* RNP stands for “Rank Not Provided.” U.S. News does not publish the rank of schools in the bottom quarter of its top 100 med schools.

Note: Baylor College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine are all private schools that offer lower in-state tuitions – the ones listed above are the out-of-state rates.

As you look at this table, keep in mind a few factors:

1. When you are choosing where to apply, the marginal difference in cost is what you are going to need to weigh as you decide both where to apply, and if you get multiple acceptances, where to accept.

2. The figures above are annual tuitions for last year. Tuition has this habit of going up every year, and most people complete medical school in four years.

3. Also keep in mind other costs, like the cost of living in a particular part of the country.

Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!


The 10 Medical Schools with the Lowest Acceptance Rates

U.S. News newest rankings highlight the med schools that are the toughest to get into. The average acceptance rate for the following ten med schools was 3% in 2013.

Rank   School/State Acceptance Rate  # of Acceptances 
 1  Morehouse School of Medicine / GA  1.6%  70
 2  Mayo Medical School / MN  1.8%  83
 3  Stanford University / CA  2.7%  196
 4  Georgetown University/ DC  2.8%  345
 5  Brown University / RI  2.9%  234
 6  George Washington University (DC)  3.3%  339
 7  UCLA Geffen / CA  3.5%  248
 8  UC San Francisco / CA  3.7%  274
 9  Harvard University / MA  3.8%  219
10 Wake Forest University / NC  3.8%  284

(FYI: The school with the highest acceptance rate was Oklahoma State University that accepted 21.5% of applicants.)

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Consulting at Top MBA Programs


Entrepreneurship is the sexy post-MBA job, but the reality is that less than 5% of grads from top MBA programs start a business at graduation. Per GMAC’s just released Prospective Students Survey Report, 34% of all graduate business students seek consulting positions after they earn their degree. My suspicion is that the figure is even higher among full-time MBA candidates. True, many will work as consultants for a few years, and then down the road start their own business.

If you are in that vast mass of MBA wannabes planning/hoping for a job in consulting immediately after you earn your degree, this ranking is for you! We’ve examined US Newstop MBA programs and the number of grads who have gone into consulting from each one. (The data here is from U.S. News.)

Schools Ranked by Percentage of Grads Going into Consulting

Schools Ranked by Number of Grads Going into Consulting

The biggest surprise is how low Stanford places on these lists. I would attribute that low ranking to the relatively high percentage of MBAs going into entrepreneurship (approximately 18%, the highest of any of these programs by far.).  Yale’s placement as #1 in percentage as well as Duke Fuqua’s, CMU Tepper’s and Emory’s as respectively #2,#6 and #8 on the percentage list also indicate real strength in consulting placement, which sometimes isn’t recognized.

Similarly Wharton’s #1 placement and Chicago Booth’s #4 spot in total numbers call into question the meme that these two programs are “just” finance powerhouses.

Certainly a high ranking in either of these lists indicates that the program has the recruiting ties, placement track record, and alumni network, as well as the curriculum, to support your consulting goals.  However, these numbers don’t tell the full picture. Dig into the schools’ class profile, placement stats, curriculum, extra-curricular activities and opportunities to determine which schools to apply to.

Ultimately you want to apply to programs that will take you where you want to go and that are likely to admit you.

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Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

10 Medical Schools with the Most Applicants

medical schoolMedical school application volume was at an all time high in 2013, up 6.1% to 48,014. Below are some more fun facts about U.S. News’ new rankings, followed by the list of top 10 med schools with the most applicants.

•  The 10 med schools that got the most applicants in 2013 were all private schools located on the East Coast.

•  Pennsylvania tops the charts with four of the top 10 med schools, including the top two slots.

•  The schools on this top 10 list are the same as last year, but in a different order. For example, last year Washington University took the top slot, but this year it came in fifth.

•  An average of 10,646 students applied to each of the top 10 schools, more than twice as high as the average number of applications submitted to the 114 schools that responded to the survey. (The average number of applications was 5,066.)

Top 10 Med Schools with Most Applications:

1. Drexel University College of Medicine (PA) – 13,620 applicants
2. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA) – 12,901 applicants
3. Georgetown University (DC) – 12,250 applicants
4. Temple University (PA) – 10,980 applicants
5. George Washington University (DC) – 10,397 applicants
6. Jefferson Medical College (PA) – 10,118 applicants
7. Boston University (MA) – 9,665 applicants
8. New York Medical College (NY) – 2,044 applicants
9. New York University (NY) – 8,830 applicants
10. Tufts University (MA) – 8,647 applicants

 Are you misusing the med school rankings? Click here to find out!