Students nearing the end of their high school years often search for information about the “best” colleges.
There are many publications and online resources that provide this subjective data, often based on multiple variables. The U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges guide, for example, gathers data from colleges on 17 indicators of academic excellence, weighting each factor differently. The scoring breakdown includes such categories as outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving. That last category, alumni giving, is weighted at just 3%.
But Forbes believes that alumni giving alone may be the key to predicting a student’s ideal college. For the ninth consecutive year, Forbes published its version of a best college listing based on only one criterion: alumni giving. The thinking is that the better one’s college experience, the greater the likelihood that he/she will show gratitude in the form of a donation. Hence, Forbes titles its listing the “Grateful Graduates Index.”
The Grateful Graduate Index measures two criteria: the seven-year median gifts per full-time enrolled student, and the average percentage of alumni who give back, regardless of the amount of the donation.
Colleges and universities that have ranked in the top three every year since 2014 are Dartmouth, Williams, and Princeton. New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, with notable graduates including Fred Rogers, reports a Seven Year Median Private Donation Per Student as $24,039 and an Average Alumni Participation Rate at 41.3%.
Williams College in Massachusetts, which graduated late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, posts a $23,434 Seven Year Median Private Donation Per Student and a 47.8% Average Alumni Participation Rate. The numbers for New Jersey’s Princeton University, whose notable graduates include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, are $23,536 and 40.5%, respectively.
Following, in consecutive order, are Amherst College, ($21,354 and 45.1%), Davidson College, ($19,994 and 44.5%), Claremont McKenna College, ($22,776 and 33.8%), Haverford College ($19,810 and 38.1%), and Wellesley College ($16,328 and 49.0%).
Other schools in the top 15 are Wabash College, University of Notre Dame, Washington and Lee University, Bowdoin College, Carleton College, Stanford University and Duke University.
It’s important to note that Forbes only looks at private, not-for-profit institutions with more than 500 students. Therefore, such reputable schools as UCLA, University of Michigan, and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill are excluded from consideration.
Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of Collegebound Review that, for the past 25 years, has offered PSAT/SAT® preparation, essay editing, and private college advising by Ivy League educated instructors. Visit CollegeboundReview.com or call 908-369-5362.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Schools that produce the most grateful grads | College Connection