Wednesday, April 26, 2006
More College Choice
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.
(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....)
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