On Wednesday, the University of Virginia was crowned thebest public university in America by Business Insider. UVa also received a number 9 ranking in Business Insider’s ranking of the 50 best colleges in the nation, which was released on August 22nd.
The overall ranking emphasized schools with high graduation rates, early career earnings, and top student life experiences. Quality of life was assessed by Niche, a company that compiles research on schools. The organization evaluated community life by assigning letter grades based on metrics such as campus quality, diversity, party scene, student retention, safety, and athletics. The ordering also took into account the annual net cost of each university, calculated as the average cost of tuition for students that applied for financial aid after accounting for the financial aid received.
These inputs were largely based on government-compiled data, and purposely excluded “glamour statistics,” such as reputation and selectivity, that are often components of college ranking systems. Business Insider then expanded its Top 50 list to the best 100 institutions and filtered the ranking to include only public schools.
The high overall rating therefore allowed UVa to top the best public college list, beating rivals such as UCLA, Cal Berkeley, and the University of Michigan. Statistics that contributed to the high rating included an average SAT score of 1362, an A+ student life score, an annual net cost of $17,149, and a $58,600 median salary ten years after enrolling.
Business Insider cited the University’s broad educational offerings as well as high quality of life in its ranking.
“UVA first-year students can choose from four undergraduate schools: arts and sciences, architecture, engineering, or nursing. UVA also has a “work hard, play hard” mentality. The university boasts more than 600 student clubs and 25 varsity sports.”
The overall top ten colleges in America were Princeton University, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, University of Virginia, and Columbia University.
Last year, UVa was ranked the 28th best college in America overall by Business Insider. The considerable jump to number 9 is due to a significant change in assessment metrics. The 2015 ordering heavily weighed the opinions of 1,000 Business Insider readers, who were asked to select the college that best prepared students for success after graduation from a pool of what BI perceived to be the top 100 U.S. schools. UVa was subsequently awarded the number 6 spot in the 2015 best public college rating after BI applied the same ordering filter.