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Rice places near top in national university rankings

By DixitaViswanath     9/13/12 7:00pm


In a new survey obtained by an online college ranking website, Alumni Factor, that aims to assess colleges based on how their gradu- ates perform, Rice placed third among national universities, with only Yale University and Princeton University ranked higher. The rankings were released on Sept. 10.

Rice is one of only four schools to be in the top 20 in 25 out of 26 attributes, according to the Alumni Factor website. Among the top 177 national universities, Rice is ranked the second best school for intellectual development, preparation for career success and value for the cost of education.

In the category "would recommend to a student," Rice placed sixth. It placed seventh for household net worth and eighth for overall happiness. It ranked No. 11 for three attributes: friendship development, likelihood the alumni would choose Rice again and the percentage of alumni giving.

Alumni Factor is a new startup company based in Atlanta, Ga. comprised of just under 20 employees. This independent company is not affiliated with any news organization, publishing house or any other organization in the secondary education arena, according to its website.

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor of Alumni Factor Monica McGurke said she created this organization to compile rankings and profiles of all higher education institutions in the United States. McGurke said Alumni Factor's mission is to help pro- spective applicants and their parents see how well a university prepares its students for the real world and what becomes of those students post-graduation.

According to McGurke, over 42,000 alumni were surveyed for this study over a three-year period, totaling approximately 200 respon- dents from each school and spread out over a variety of majors and graduation years.

According to the Alumni Factor website, each college ranking was formed from a list

of 15 attributes that were equally weighted, ranging from income levels to overall happiness of graduates. Data for 13 of the 15 attributes came from the alumni. McGurke said that only two of the 15 attributes - the school's six-year graduation rate and the percentage of alumni who donate annually - are gathered from sources other than the graduates and schools.

Current graduate student James Carpenter (Will Rice '12) said it was no surprise to him that Rice students are very successful after graduation.

"During Owl Days, I saw a group of 20 students sing in a small concert, and I fell in love with Rice's inner beauty," Carpenter said. "I saw how happy everyone was here and knew that this was the place I would stay. It would be silly to go anywhere else [for graduate school]."

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said Rice fosters the skill of external learning in a unique manner.

"Education is growing both intellectually and personally," Hutchinson said. "It is more than the classroom; it is building and maintaining relationships. To be successful, [a Rice student] learns more than knowledge. They learn integrity, confidence and pride in their work."

Georgia Institute of Technology professor of statistics David Goldsman independently analyzed the bulk of the data collected by Alumni Factor. Goldsman said he thought high-ranked schools on this study indicated a positive undergraduate nature.

"Some other schools, like Harvard, have great reputations and a great list of alumni," Goldsman said. "However, the students at these schools don't have good experiences. [...] Extremely bright, hypercompetitive kids may not have time to engage in activities there. They may not establish as [strong] connections as students of other schools do. [Students at Rice] do develop these lifelong friendships while receiving a quality education."

Both McGurke and Goldsman expect Alumni Factor to release another edition of rankings by the next application cycle.

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