We don’t cover UCLA academics as much as we should — considering, fan-bases be damned, UCLA is definitely more worldwide known for its academic reputation — but once in awhile, we come across a nugget that solidifies to us that UCLA is right up there in the top-tier of academic powerhouses.
This time, Forbes came up with its list of America’s Top Colleges, which is unique in that it eliminates school reputation from the equation, factors in graduation rates, career prospects and accumulated debt, among other things. Let them tell you in their words:
The rankings, which are compiled exclusively for Forbes by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity, focus on the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt. They do not attempt to assess a school’s reputation, nor are they a measure of academic selectivity and we pointedly ignore any metrics that would encourage schools to engage in wasteful spending.
The rankings are based on five general categories: post graduate success (32.5%), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence, student satisfaction (27.5%), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates, debt (17.5%), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates, four-year graduation rate (11.25%) and competitive awards (11.25%), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright or go on to earn a Ph.D. The complete methodology is available here.
So basically, the criteria includes everything you’d ask for in a college outside of partying and the drug scene. (Sorry, University of Oregon and Humboldt State.)
Where did UCLA end up? No. 45, which is pretty low considering UCLA consistently likes to dominate the top ten or 15, but fair considering UCLA is just one of just five public schools in the top 50.
If you were wondering, yes, Cal Berkeley did make the top 50, but just on the nose at No. 50 in Forbes’ list, which means the better success rate and overall “better school” label belongs to UCLA. I guess that “little brother” crap can get cut out now, huh, Cal?
UNC at Chapel Hill — a public school — also finished in the top 50, but behind UCLA at No. 47. The two public schools that ranked ahead of UCLA were Virginia at No. 36 and College of William & Mary at No. 40.
Oh and that other school, South Cal? They finished No. 95, of course.
Step it up, little brothers.