Best Colleges Methodology

National and Regional Colleges and Universities Rankings

Utilizing data from the US Dept. of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as well as survey data we collected from over a thousand women on what is important to them in defining a quality college or university, we arrived at uniform quantitative measures for:

  • Reputation
  • Student to faculty ratios
  • Depth of education
  • Campus safety
  • 4 year graduation rates

Using weights derived from our survey of women, we assigned points to each of these measures and ranked schools according to the total points earned. Where ties existed, cost for out-of-state tuition determined precise ranking.

Reputation is a function of female admission rates and enrollment rates, as well as out-of-state enrollments. Safety rankings were based on three years of campus crime rates, and weighed based on our women’s survey of the importance of different types of offenses (forcible sex offenses rated highest). Depth of education was primarily a function of post-graduate to undergraduate ratio and levels of degrees granted.

Data came from 2016 fall enrollment statistics. Safety data covered 2014-2016 We only considered schools offering at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree, that had a restrictive admissions policy (no open admissions).

A total score is then derived using the above measures to determine the final national and regional ranking of each college.