Forbes College Rankings Released: Small West Coast Schools Win Out, Harvard Slips

| by Sarah Siskind
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Stanford, often referred to as the “Harvard of the West,” is now making Harvard the “Stanford of the East.” At least, this is according to Forbes’ Best College Rankings released earlier today.

The Forbes ranking methodology distinguishes itself by focusing on the experience and the output of the student body rather than the selectivity and character of admissions. The biggest factor is post-Graduate success at 37.5% of their metric, followed by student satisfaction at 22.5%. Student debt and graduation rate also play a role.

Under this metric, Stanford won first place, climbing up from #3 last year. Pomona College, another California school, won second place.

While Massachusetts maintains its tradition of possessing the greatest number of top ten schools (MIT, Harvard, and Williams), Harvard University slipped from sixth to eighth place and Williams slipped from second to ninth place.

This is a strong divergence from the U.S. News & World Report’s Ranking, which placed Harvard, and Princeton tied for first.

Ranking the best rankings is a tricky business. One might be inclined to view retention and graduation rates as a strong indication of success. Yet, this metric would condemn notorious dropouts like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. The Forbes ranking system also pits small liberal arts schools against large universities with many graduate schools.

Here is Forbes’ Top Ten Colleges:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Pomona College
  3. Princeton University
  4. Yale University
  5. Columbia University
  6. Swarthmore College
  7. United States Military Academy
  8. Harvard University
  9. Williams College
  10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Click here for the full list.

Sources: Forbes, Business Insider