Texas A&M University is ranked sixth in the nation among public universities by a new online organization, TheBestColleges.org, whose editors say they base their ratings on weighted factors that focus on economic value, quality of life, academic quality and student satisfaction. Based on those factors, Texas A&M placed first among public universities in Texas.
“With this inaugural 2011-2012 edition of The Best Colleges Top 50 Colleges and Universities in America, we set out to create a college ranking that exceeds all the others in focusing on what really matters to students and those who may be helping foot the bill for their education,” the editors note. “We’ve gone beyond investigating standard indicators of academic quality and student satisfaction used by other major ranking systems to also consider indicators of the economic value of a school and the quality of life offered by the city or town it is located in.”
The list is dominated by private schools, headed by Princeton and Harvard, with the top-ranked public institution, The College of William and Mary, placing fifth overall. The other leading public institutions are the University of North Carolina (12th overall), University of Virginia (15th), University of Michigan (21st) and the University of California at Berkeley (23rd). Texas A&M ranked 26th overall.
Texas A&M was also credited by the editors with having one of the nation’s 50 “most amazing college campuses" — one of the quality-of-life indicators that factored into the overall rankings.
“Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. The quality of social and economic opportunities opened up to a person in their lifetime will in large part be determined by whether and where they choose to go to school,” The Best Colleges editors state. “In some respects, to choose a college is to choose a future. That’s why many people talk about college education as an investment. Students (and their parents!) pour enormous amounts of money into tuition, fees, books and living expenses, not to mention all the time and effort, expecting to get something in return. Naturally, they want to know they are making a smart choice in where to invest their time and money.”
The Best College editors use the following weighted factors to arrive at their rankings: Economic value (35 percent), which includes real cost, median starting salary and median mid-career salary of graduates; quality of life (30 percent), which takes in such factors as cost of living index in city/town, media age of local residents, median household income and percentage of residents with college degrees; academic quality (20 percent, which includes acceptance rate and student-to-faculty ratio; and student satisfaction (15 percent), which includes enrollment rate, freshman-to sophomore retention rate and six-year graduation rate.
For the complete list of rankings, go to http://www.thebestcolleges.org/