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Pomona College and Stanford get top rankings by Forbes

Do you think college rankings are useful?
Do you think college rankings are useful?
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Download this story 9.0MB released their college ranking and two California schools have topped the list.

Stanford was first on the list and our own Pomona College ranked second. This is the first time in the six years Forbes has produced the list that two West Coast colleges topped the list. Pomona came in ahead of well-known institutions like Yale (#4) and Harvard (#8). 

RELATED: Pomona College comes in 2nd in Forbes' list of best colleges

In 2012, the ranking order was: Princeton University, Williams College, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Yale University, Harvard University, U.S. Military Academy, Columbia University, Pomona College and Swarthmore College.

It's not going to dramatically change us...I certainly anticipate that there will be some buzz that will spread and word will get out and the name will get better known," said Pomona College President David Oxtoby. "It's not as well known as we'd like it to be."

Pomona College is a small, private liberal arts school with fewer than 1,600 students and an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

Built in 1887, Pomona is the founding member of the Claremont Colleges group, including Harvey Mudd College, which came in at #52 on the list. Students are free to take classes at any of the affiliated colleges. 

Forbes took into account the following criteria to reach the 2013 rankings:

  1. Post-graduate success: What salaries students are making five and 10 years out of school.
  2. Student satisfaction: What are students getting on campus as far as teach and general campus experience. 
  3. Debt: How much debt are students graduating with. 
  4. Graduation rate: High priority put on number of people who graduate in four years rather than five or six years. 
  5. Nationally competitive awards: How many former students have won awards like Rhodes, National Science Foundation and Fulbright. 

"We don't rank on reputation, and we don't rank on peer review, we rank very specifically on government data that the schools give to the US Dept. of Education," said Caroline Howard, Forbes Senior Online Editor. "When we're talking about success, we're not only talking about pay we're talking about who's a leader. Who's a success in their field."


How did Pomona College climb the list? Why do East Coast school traditionally dominate rankings lists? What methodologies are used to create these rankings?


David Oxtoby, President of Pomona College

Caroline Howard, Forbes Senior Online Editor