Finding your Forbes ‘top college’ match is easier when you’re rich

by Grace

Forbes recently released its list of the top 650 colleges in the U.S, relying on a system that measures “output” more than “input”.  Rather than using metrics like SAT scores and grades, Forbes relies on “ROI: What are students getting out of college?”

Find Your Top College

Which of these top 650 colleges would be a good match for you?  An interactive feature allows you to enter your SAT score, grade average, maximum yearly costs, and other criteria to create a list of top schools that fit your profile.

I ran a few examples using only academic stats and costs, with the top five results for each category shown below.  This quick search excluded the effects of financial aid, along with preferences for type and location of colleges.  (The numbers after the school names show Forbes rank.)

WITH A LIMITED BUDGET, THE BEST MATCHES FOR THE “TIPPY-TOP STUDENT” ARE MILITARY ACADEMIES.

TIPPY-TOP STUDENT — SAT 1560 (99%ile); GPA 4.0 (A+)

$25,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
United States Military Academy  7
United States Naval Academy  28
United States Air Force Academy  31
Brigham Young University  75
United States Coast Guard Academy  94

$60,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
Pomona College  2
Swarthmore College  6
United States Military Academy  7
Williams College 9
University of Pennsylvania  11

BEING ABLE TO SPEND MORE MONEY ADDS HIGHER-RANKED SCHOOLS FOR THE “HIGH ACHIEVER”.

HIGH ACHIEVER – SAT 1320 (90%ile); GPA 3.8 (A-)

$25,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
University of South Dakota  330
Wichita State University  466
Brigham Young University, Idaho  469
South Dakota State University  481
Wilmington University  527

$60,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
Union College  58
Virginia Military Institute  87
Hobart and William Smith Colleges  108
Loyola University Maryland  127
CUNY, City College  137

THE “MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD SCHOLAR” ON A LIMITED BUDGET FINDS NO MATCHES AT ALL.

MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD SCHOLAR – SAT 1060 (60%ile); GPA 2.7 (B-)

$25,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
NO MATCHES

$60,000 Maximum Yearly Cost:
Saint John’s College (MD)  173
Wheaton College  224
Augustana College  242
Saint John’s College (NM)  437
Augustana College  460

No surprises here.  Whatever your academic credentials, it’s good to be rich.

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2 Comments to “Finding your Forbes ‘top college’ match is easier when you’re rich”

  1. This is an eye-opener, if it’s correct. You can play with it to find the point at which your dream school shows up, e.g., Stanford is #1 if your SAT/ACT is at least 1570/35 (and you have at least 4.0 and can afford over $58k), but drops off if it’s less.

    This may be useful to temper the expectations of high school students dreaming of going to a very selective school.

  2. I’m confident this tool is correct in offering general estimations, but of course there are students who defy the odds and get in even though they fall way below the averages for a particular school. And then there are those students who seem to have perfect statistics but are not accepted.

    I agree that this is a good way to temper expectations.

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