Picking the right college can be a difficult, confusing experience. If you are a high school student, or the parent of a high school student, and you seek advice from, say, a guidance counselor, that person is likely to wax about academics, stress the importance of reputation, and give other such conventional wisdom.
Those things are very important. But other things are also very important.
Cost is certainly one of them. The cost of a college education in the United States today is utterly out of hand. Colleges and universities have bloated their administrative staffs with entirely too many useless bureaucrats. They have built palatial dorms and gleaming athletic facilities with climbing walls and Olympic pools — passing the cost right along to you, the education consumer.
Having a rollicking good time is also critical. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. College has become a four-year (or five-year, of six-year) party. You may as well join the fun. And you should consider the local quality of life. If there’s nothing to do and you are likely to get mugged, that matters.
You may as well have a good time with attractive people, too. That’s why The Daily Caller’s list of the best colleges proudly features hotness as an integral part of the overall calculus.
The list of schools is below. You can just scroll down, or take a minute to read about the various parts of the list first.
Overall, there are eight categories. For academics, there is an overall academic rating, a professor-quality rating and rating for the school’s ability to graduate freshmen in four years (a good thing). There’s also an admission rating. The harder the school is to get into, the higher this rating is.
Beyond academics, there is a social life rating, a student-attractiveness rating, and a combined rating for the campus and the surrounding area.
Finally, there is a rating for the cost of tuition and fees, which really varies from school to school, and which can really affect your life later on if you take on a bunch of debt.
There’s more about how the list are formulated if you scroll past the list itself.
For each of 400 or so schools, TheDC has given each one a score in each category. The scores range between 4.00 and 0.00 — just like a typical grade-point average.
In the list below, these ratings are rounded to the nearest half and presented as star ratings.
For each school’s grand total, TheDC just added up each raw score. The University of Virginia is thus the best school in the land, with a total raw score of 28.10.
THE TOP 10
The rating for the cost of tuition and fees assumes in-state tuition for public schools. As you certainly know, if you go to a public school in a state where you can’t claim residency, your tuition price is often astronomically higher. Also, cost does not include room and board, books and spending cash. The theory is that these costs are largely a wash because you have to eat, sleep somewhere and buy books wherever you attend college. Obviously, though, the cost of living in, say, Boston, Mass. is considerably higher than it is in Danville, Ky.
For social, life, campus and locale, student hotness and the quality of professors, TheDC has relied heavily on an amalgamation of information at various websites featuring student-generated information about schools.
The overall rating for academics is a composite of this student-generated data and hard data.
The data for four-year graduation rates and admission rates is all hard data. TheDC has used data for the most recent year available.
Finally, again, the raw score is the cumulative raw score for a school’s standing in each of the eight categories.