via Lifehacker by Kevin Purdy on 8/31/10
High school seniors and their parents can turn to a ton of special magazine editions and books ranking U.S. colleges. How do those rankings actually get made? The Chronicle of Higher Education shows you, and offers a mix-and-match graphic illustration.
It's tempting to simply declare that no board of publication editors can come up with an objective, mathematical means of deciding which college will be right for each person—it's a personal experience, and what you put into it, and so on. But it's helpful to see why one ranking list puts a college near the bottom, while another might find it a Top Value or something similar. And if you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can assemble your own criteria list to judge your undergraduate or graduate choices by examining what the big players use.
What guides, rankings, or other criteria helped you decide on the college you attended? Which are trustworthy, and which seem like so much empty hyperbole?