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Five Alabama institutions tie for first in new college ‘Smart Ratings’

Clark Hall on campus at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Clark Hall on campus at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

FindTheBest.com (FTB), a site that provides data, analytics and analysis on a wide range of topics, today released to Yellowhammer News their comprehensive guide to choosing a college in Alabama.

FTB assembled the data for colleges and universities around the state to give each institution a “Smart Rating,” which the site says is designed to help potential students “find the best college at a glance.”

The Smart Rating is based on 5 attributes (FTB’s explanation for each is included below):

1. 34% Admission Selectivity

Our rating formula gives significant weight to admissions standards. We believe that the ambitions and abilities of the students help shape the school’s overall academic atmosphere and rigor. We also know certain metrics are critical in helping colleges determine which applicants will do well if they are admitted.

2. 32% Academics Excellence

The indicators we use to measure academic quality fall into a number of categories, including graduation rate performance, retention of students, faculty availability, financial resources, and scholarship winners. We believe these factors are good indicators of student satisfaction and the availability of faculty and financial resources. They also include outcome measures that signal how well the institution does its job of educating students.

3. 15% Expert Opinions

College rankings have become increasingly important to prospective students, and there are several established organizations that produce new rankings each year. FindTheBest believes these entities are experts that compile credible college rankings. As an objective, data-driven company, we use these expert rankings to help improve our own college ratings.

4. 14% Financial Affordability

FindTheBest believes higher education should be accessible to everyone, not just the elite few, so we decided to change our methodology to better reward the colleges that are committed to providing an affordable, top-tier education for students. We want colleges to rethink their tuition costs and make it more affordable so middle- and lower-income students can earn college degrees.

5. 5% Career Readiness

Post-graduate success can be somewhat indicative of the quality of a school. Great institutions tend to help their graduates launch lucrative careers by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed. Some of these graduates are even able to secure political office or win awards, medals, and prizes in their field, bringing public awareness and recognition to their alma mater.

(For an exhaustive explanation of their college ratings methodology, click here)

So after calculating all of that, what did FTB find?

Incredibly, five Alabama colleges — Samford University, Spring Hill College, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Mobile and the University of Alabama — all came in with an extremely high “Smart Rating” of 92, followed closely by Auburn University at 91.

Some other interesting takeaways?

Students accepted to Auburn University have the state’s highest average SAT score, 1745.

Unsurprisingly, The University of Alabama has more students than any other Alabama institution, 31,647, but their acceptance rate of 53% is much lower than most of the state’s other large schools.

Birmingham-Southern College’s in-state tuition currently sits at $29,600, more than any other school in the state.

Scroll through the widget below for more information, or check it out on FindTheBest.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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