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New Approach to College Ranking Based on Student Choice

Today, yet another new ranking of colleges is out—this listing ordered by student choice.

Parchment, an education data company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., released Parchment Top-Choice College Rankings based on actual student-enrollment decisions. The colleges were ranked based solely on the decisions of 12,300 students who were admitted to multiple colleges and chose to attend one. The students had accounts with Parchment and responded via email about where they were accepted and ultimately decided to attend. Each time a school was a student's first choice, it got points, and the totals translated into the listing.

While the results are not far off from other rankings, there are some surprises. For instance, the Air Force Academy made the top 10, and Swarthmore and Williams Colleges were ahead of some Ivy League schools. Of Parchment's Top 50 list, 22 are not on U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges list.

Here is a glimpse at the Parchment list (for a full list, click here):

1. Harvard University
2. Princeton University
3. Stanford University
4. Yale University
5. University of Pennsylvania
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
7. Air Force Academy
8. Pomona College
9. Caltech
10. Columbia University
11. Swarthmore College
12. Williams College
13. Brown University
13. Dartmouth College
15. Barnard College
16. U.S. Naval Academy
17. U.S. Military Academy
18. Bowdoin College
19. Wellesley College
20. Amherst Colleges
21. Duke University
22. Johns Hopkins University
23. University of Notre Dame
24. University of Chicago
25. Rice University

In addition to U.S. News', other rankings out this fall included Newsweek's quirky ranking of the Best Colleges for You by various categories, such as Best Food and Most Beautiful.

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