Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More College Choice

Varun's post below reminded me of an interesting paper which also put together a dataset of the full set of admissions decisions for students. This paper sought to create a ranking of colleges based on students' revealed preferences. It is pretty interesting, and it confirms what you all know (and what to hear -- except for you Tony V.) -- Harvard is number 1 (in every ranking they put together except for the one for students who plan to major in humanities). Here is the abstract:

We show how to construct a ranking of U.S. undergraduate programs based on students' revealed preferences. We construct examples of national and regional rankings, using hand-collected data on 3,240 high- achieving students. Our statistical model extends models used for ranking players in tournaments, such as chess or tennis. When a student makes his matriculation decision among colleges that have admitted him, he chooses which college "wins" in head-to-head competition. The model exploits the information contained in thousands of these wins and losses. Our method produces a ranking that, unlike rankings based on the matriculation or admission rate, would be difficult for a college to manipulate. If our ranking were used in place of these measures, the pressure on colleges to practice strategic admissions would be relieved. We show how to deal with tuition discounts, alumni preferences, early decision programs, specialty schools, and similar issues.

Actually, I quite like the rankings. My favorite college performs much better in these rankings than those US News ones. Perhaps this is evidence that I attended a college which doesn't play the rankings manipulation game, and thus ends up with a lower ranking than it should.
(I will choose to believe that since we were ranked last of all the Ivies this year. And that's clearly ridiculous. Below Cornell? Really. I don't think so. Unless you want to go into Hotel Management....)
Im confused. Who is Tony Vallencourt and why does he dislike Harvard more than Jimmy does?

You know who Tony V is, and he's a big fan of the superior college in Providence, RI
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