If you're alive today, you have lived your whole life with college rankings. Yes, even you. You may not have knows you were living in the time of college rankings, but indeed, you have been, unless you were born before 1911 (or maybe earlier.) If you're interested, you can read this Twitter thread from 2020 where I discuss them and include snippets of those 1911 rankings as well as those from 1957, written by Chesley Manly.
You can read for yourself, or you can trust me, that in fact the rankings as we know them have been surprisingly consistent over time, and most people would have only minor quibbles with the ratings from 1911. Perhaps that's because they have always tended to measure the same thing.
But what if we did different rankings? No, not like the Princeton Review where they make an attempt to measure best party school, or best cafeteria food, or worst social life. Something more quantifiable and concrete, although still, admittedly, a hard thing to get right: An economic mobility index.
- How many low-income students they enroll and graduate
- How affordable the college is (which is a combination of low cost and income, equating to "time to pay back" the investment