October 1997 // Spotlight Site
Critical Comparisons of American Colleges and Universities
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source (http://ts.mivu.org/) as: "Critical Comparisons of American Colleges and Universities" The Technology Source, October 1997. Available online at http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=1034. The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings may be more familiar to the general public, but this website promises to be a welcome addition to the number of publications that attempt to produce a critical ranking of quality among higher education institutions.

Using data taken from a number of sources--the U.S. Department of Education's IPEDS database, National Research Council surveys, etc.--this site compiles its rankings with more concrete and varied criteria than the mass-media publications that are more familiar to the American education consumer.

The listing for each college or university consists of a "nutshell" description of the overall rankings as well as a breakdown of the institution's rating in nine different areas such as Finances, Services, Scholarships, Crime and Faculty Reputation. The definition of these factors as well as the data used to determine these ratings is clearly stated and avoids much of the subjectivity that often plagues other such surveys.

Furthermore, this site offers users a search engine in which one can select specified values for a number of variables (geographical region, institutional size, rankings within the nine criteria, etc.) in order to limit the search to only those areas that interest the user.

Overall, this site is a highly useful guides for the prospective collegian, either graduate or undergraduate, as it provides simple, yet important information on hundreds of institutions that would not otherwise be easily procured.

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