USC was ranked 15th in the Wall Street Journal’s “The Top U.S. Colleges” report released Tuesday, placing it eight spots above its position in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Colleges.”
The Wall Street Journal rankings are unique as they analyze students’ opinions on the quality of their education and their postgraduate success, rather than SAT scores or acceptance rates. The University’s score is based on a seven-question survey of 100,000 college students. Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led the rankings.
Phil Baty, an editor at Times Higher Education, praised these rankings in the Wall Street Journal article.
“[This ranking] is driven entirely by what matters most to students and families,” Baty said. “The survey gets to the heart of what good teaching really is and how much a university is capable of stimulating and engaging students.”
The universities are ranked based on four categories: student outcomes, school resources, university engagement with its students and learning environment or diversity. USC was given a high overall score of 88.3 percent, with individual scores of 95 percent for outcomes, 86 percent for resources, 83.5 percent for engagement and 78 percent for environment.
Similarly to U.S. News & World Report’s list, the Wall Street Journal’s rankings have received some scrutiny for favoring private universities. Public colleges did not make the top 20, as they have fewer resources, including a smaller spending budget, larger student-faculty ratios and lower research output.
“Tighter budgets can affect class sizes, graduation rates, faculty hiring and the extent to which a school can offer grants rather than loans in a financial-aid package,” the Wall Street Journal article stated.