Note: The complete directory and related statistics, including some that are listed in the article below, are only available in our College Compass.
On this site, you'll find exhaustive profiles of each of the more than 1,800 colleges and universities U.S. News surveys each year. This online version of the directory allows you to find the kinds of useful information you need to help in choosing which colleges are right for you.
The vital statistics shown in each directory entry are explained below. The data were collected from the schools themselves during the spring and summer of 2012. If a college did not supply the data requested, you'll see an "N/A," for "not available." In some cases when schools did not return the full U.S. News statistical questionnaire, data reported in previous years are displayed.
The directory can help you identify schools that meet your needs. Here's a rundown of the different sections and the information contained in each one:
Quick Stats and Overview sections: Check out the school's address, find it on a map, determine how much it costs to attend, and see how many students are enrolled. The application deadline shown is for the academic year starting in the fall of 2013; a school with rolling admissions makes decisions as applications are received until the class has been filled.
How competitive is the admissions process at the schools you're considering? Schools are designated "most selective," "more selective," "selective," "less selective," or "least selective," based on a formula that accounts for enrollees' test scores and class standing and the school's acceptance rate (the percentage of applicants who are accepted).
The Critical Reading and Math portions of the SAT or the ACT Composite scores shown represent the range within which half the students scored. Twenty-five percent of students scored at or below the lower end of the range, and 25 percent scored at or above the upper end of the range. The admissions statistics are for the fall 2011 entering class.
Figures cited for tuition, room, board, and required fees are, in almost all cases, for the 2012-2013 academic year. For public schools, we list both in-state and out-of-state tuition. If data for the 2012-2013 academic year are not available, we provide figures for 2011-2012 or, in some cases, we use the school's estimate for 2012-2013.
• School mission: In this section, read the mission and unique qualities of the school, as reported by the institution. You can get a feel for the overall tone of the institution from this statement.
• In addition to school-provided statistics, the summaries on more than 500 colleges' directory pages provide insight into student life at the school. Discover what clubs and organizations you might be able to join, what sports teams you'll cheer for, and how many majors a school offers. You may also find out if you'll be required to live on campus and what there is to do off campus.
Applying: Along with all of the application deadlines for fall 2013 admission—for regular decision, early decision, and early action—you'll find a link to the online application.
The high school academic requirements are noted, plus whether the school requires SAT or ACT scores or at least uses them in admissions decisions. Various academic and nonacademic factors that are, or might be, considered in admissions decisions are rated on their relative importance: very important, important, considered, or not considered.
A look at the admissions statistics for the fall 2011 entering class will tell you the proportion of all applicants who were accepted, as well as the proportion of early decision and early action applicants who got in compared with the acceptance rate of non-early applicants. You'll find out how many freshmen enrolled, what percentage were accepted early, how many were men or women, and how many were from out of state.
Of those who submitted their high school class standing when they applied, you'll see how many ranked among the top 10 percent of their high school class, in the top quarter, and in the top half. We supply the average high school grade-point average of the 2011 freshmen, the percentage submitting SAT and ACT scores, and, for both tests, the range within which half the students scored. The 25/75 percentiles shown for the Critical Reading and Math portions of the SAT or ACT Composite tell you that 25 percent of students scored at or below the lower end of the range and 25 percent scored at or above the upper end.
Academic Life: Information on faculty for the 2011-2012 academic year includes the number of full-time professors and the breakdown of men, women, minorities, and faculty members from other countries; you can also see what percentage have earned a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field.
The ratio of undergraduates to undergraduate faculty is provided, as is the percentage of class sections taught by graduate teaching assistants. Class size figures tell you the percentage of classes during the fall 2011 term that had fewer than 20 students, the percentage with 20 to 49 students, and the percentage with 50 or more. (Labs and discussion sections are excluded.)
Two key numbers that applicants should consider are a school's freshman retention rate and its graduation rate. The average freshman retention rate tells you the average proportion of freshmen who started in fall 2007 through fall 2010 who returned the following fall. The graduation rates show the proportion starting college in fall 2005 who earned a degree in four years and in five years. We also show the average proportion of graduates who earned a degree in six years or fewer for classes starting in fall 2002 through fall 2005.
You can see which degrees or certificates (and how many) were awarded between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. You can see the proportion of students who pursue further study immediately upon graduation, within one year, and within five years. In addition, there is a breakdown of the proportion of graduates who pursue further study in business, law, medicine, dentistry, engineering, theology (or the seminary), education, arts and sciences, and veterinary medicine.
Degrees offered are noted, and you can see lists of both the five most popular majors among 2011 graduates (with the percentage of students who majored in them) and all majors offered that lead to a degree. Majors are arranged by category and listed alphabetically within categories. The availability of other types of academic programs, including preprofessional, teaching certification and cooperative education programs, ROTC, learning communities, and study abroad, are also noted. If specific courses are required for graduation, they'll appear in this section.
U.S. News Rankings: A school's rank indicates where it sits among its peers in the 2013 edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. You'll see a description that indicates which category of institution the school falls into, followed by its rank within the group. The categories include National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges.
The Regional Universities and Regional Colleges categories are further subdivided by location: North, South, West, and Midwest. All the colleges in the National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges that are in the top three fourths of their categories are ranked numerically.
Others in the bottom 25 percent of each of those categories are placed in what U.S. News has labeled the Second Tier, also referred to as Tier 2, and are listed as Rank Not Published. You cannot compare the ranks of institutions in different categories because schools are compared only with their peers.
Schools that specialize in business, engineering, and art, as well as international schools, are labeled as such and are also listed as Unranked, which means that they are not ranked. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
In addition, schools with fewer than 200 students; schools with a high percentage of older, part-time students; those institutions that have indicated that they don't use the SAT or ACT in admissions decisions for first-time, first-year, degree-seeking applicants; and some schools that did not receive enough responses on the peer assessment survey to allow us to use their peer score as part of the overall ranking are not ranked and thus listed as Unranked.
You can see all the different categories in which a school is numerically ranked in the Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools, and Top Online Education Programs, via the Rankings tab along the top of the page.
Student Life: What will your classmates be like? This section supplies the breakdown of full-time and part-time students, the male and female enrollments, the racial and ethnic makeup of the student body, the in-state and out-of-state populations, the percentage of students living on campus, and the percentage who participate in fraternities and sororities. All figures are for the 2011-2012 academic year. Note that numbers may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
• International Students: We note how many undergraduates come from other countries and how many countries are represented during the 2011-2012 academic year. Special services for international students are listed. What are the application deadlines for international students? Is a pre-application form required? International students may have to demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); if so, what is the minimum TOEFL paper and/or TOEFL Internet-based score required? What was the most recent average TOEFL score? Can the TOEFL be submitted in place of the SAT or ACT?
We also provide financial information specific to foreign students. Are advance deposits required of international applicants (in addition to the tuition deposits required of all students)? Which types of aid are offered to international students? How many international undergraduates received such aid during the 2011-2012 academic year? You'll find everything you need to know about which forms to file and when to file them.
• Transfer Students: Students thinking of transferring can quickly find out when to apply and what the admissions requirements will be—whether a high school transcript will be necessary as well as a college transcript, for example, and whether an essay or admissions interview is required or recommended. What is the required minimum high school GPA and the minimum college GPA? What is the lowest course grade that may be transferred for credit? What is the maximum number of credits/courses that may be transferred? We provide the number of transfer applications received for fall 2011, the number of transfer applicants offered admission, and the number who enrolled.
• Housing: What types of college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing are available for undergraduates on campus? Are students required to live in campus housing? Where are the nearest airports and train and bus stations? Does public transportation serve campus? During the 2011-2012 academic year what proportion of undergraduates worked on campus? How much can undergraduates expect to earn per year from part-time, on-campus work? All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.
• Clubs and Organizations: A sense of the extracurricular opportunities on campus can be gleaned from a list of major clubs and organizations, the numbers of fraternities and sororities, and the proportion of undergraduates who are members. All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.
• Sports: In this section, you'll find information about the school's intercollegiate varsity sports program. Is the school a member of either the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)? During the 2011-2012 academic year, how many intercollegiate varsity sports—and which ones—were offered for men and women?
Campus Info & Services: In this section, you'll find out if students are permitted to have cars on campus, which student services are offered (counseling services, remediation, and career-placement services, for example), an idea of the size of the library's collection, and information on computer resources. Are students required to take a computer course? Are they required to lease or own a computer? How many computers does the school have for students to use? Is a wireless network available to all students? Where on campus are computers available for student use? Campus security services are enumerated, too. All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.
• Disabled Students: Students with learning disabilities can find out here whether the school offers a specific program for them and how many undergraduates are receiving services. Are admissions requirements for learning-disabled students the same as those for other students? Is a GED certification accepted? Is a lighter-than-usual college course load an option for learning-disabled students? Is additional time allowed to complete an undergraduate degree? Is credit toward a degree given for remedial courses? Services offered to learning-disabled students also are listed. All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Likewise, physically disabled students can find out about services provided, the accessibility of the campus, and whether campus housing specifically for disabled students is available. All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Paying for School: One statistic you will surely want to know is the sticker price: tuition, room and board, and required fees. We give figures for the 2012-2013 academic year. For public schools, we list both in-state and out-of-state tuition. If data for the 2012-2013 academic year are not available, we show figures for 2011-2012 or, in some cases, the school's estimate for 2012-2013. We also provide estimates of the cost of books and supplies, transportation, and personal needs for the 2012-2013 academic year. In some cases, a comprehensive fee is listed, which includes tuition, room and board, and other expenses.
In addition we have listed each school's net price calculator that helps students determine a how much it will cost them to attend the school and whether they qualify for need-based financial aid.
Anyone planning to apply for financial aid for the fall of 2013 will find a rundown of the necessary forms and deadlines. Which types of need-based scholarships and grants are available to students? What are the criteria used in awarding institutional need-based aid? What criteria are used in awarding institutional non-need-based aid? What loan programs are available? What tuition payment plans are open to undergraduates?
The data on financial aid packages given out to undergraduates during the 2011-2012 school year include the percentage of undergraduates who applied for aid, the percentage determined by the school to have financial need, and what percentage had their need fully met by an aid package that excluded parent or other private loans.
In addition, we give the average financial aid package (including grants, loans, and jobs) and the proportion of students receiving a package, the average amount of gift aid (scholarships or grants) and the proportion receiving such aid, the average amount of self-help aid (work study or loans) and the proportion receiving such aid, and the average need-based student loan. Among students who received need-based aid, what percentage of their need was met, on average? We also include information on merit awards and the average debt burden of 2011 graduates with debt.
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