There is an official college ranking list produced every year that lists the top colleges in the country but these do not cover the important issues to a student, namely if the college really is for them. Luckily there are a number of college ranking guides that are produced by students themselves. The most accurate form of college ranking places the greatest importance on student happiness. Students grade their college based on a number of different factors, not simply academic qualifications. This type of college ranking process reflects the opinions of current students and recent graduates and is not influenced by the institutions. If you search the internet you will find sites where students have given a college ranking based on criteria such as:
* Campus Dining
* Campus Housing
* Campus Strictness
* Drug Scene
* Greek Life
* Local Atmosphere
* Off-Campus Dining
* Off-Campus Housing
* Safety and Security
These different aspects of college life all have varying levels of importance for a prospective student and the college ranking for one area may not be of interest but having them broken down into the individual categories allows a student to investigate the college ranking that is of interest to them and not just an overall ranking.
For example, a student without a car will not be interested in the college ranking for available parking facilities but would be keen to find out about the transportation available in the college area. An art student may not be concerned that their first-choice college does not have high speed internet access in the dorm rooms but a computer major would class this as essential.
Female students are more likely to be concerned about a college ranking for security on campus and be especially interested in the levels of campus police but may not be bothered if the school has a low college ranking for the football coaching.
Apart from visiting some of the college ranking websites and reading surveys conducted amongst students it is also useful to attend the colleges that you are considering before making a decision. This will enable you to confirm, or refute the claims made by the college ranking yourself and also offer you the chance to see if the college actually feels right for you before you accept a place.