In a recent article published by The Atlantic, a paradigm-shifting study was released based on The Economist‘s new rankings that discuss how future college students will choose the best school for them. The study suggests rejecting the time-honored tradition of using prestige as the determining factor as to the superiority of a school, and proposes instead opting for a more practical outlook of how much the school costs and what kind of wage projection could be expected after leaving the school (in other words, ROI). With mounting student loans to pay off, this may be a more constructive criterion to follow than reputation.
The results of the study were surprising. Many high prestige universities such as Yale and Princeton were ranked at the bottom of the list, having displayed a significantly lower income than the projections showed.
Here are the top ten schools according to The Economist‘s new college rankings:
As with all rankings, this research is not definitive, however, and the study’s authors identified the limits of the methodology. Researchers admit that ten years is a short amount of time to project overall income value for a given school, more so considering graduate school attendance during this period of time. The dataset was also limited to students who applied for federal financial aid, effectively excluding the wealthiest students in the school and their salaries from the average.
Regardless of the specific school rankings and placements, the concept is an important one. Many thought-leaders are shifting their priorities from a status-driven mentality to a performance- or value-based school of thought. With economic winds constantly shifting and tuition costs climbing ever-higher, this could be a revolution in the way continued education is viewed and schools are chosen by the population at large.