We all know which schools attract the kids with the best grades and highest test scores, but who produces the world's best minds after college? We measured which schools draw the most competitive students and which produce the most intellectually high-achieving graduates using recent data on which colleges' and universities' graduates go on to become Nobel laureates, MacArthur "geniuses," or Guggenheim fellows. We also looked at the number of graduates who become Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, or Gates-Cambridge scholars. Finally, we measured how many students get their doctoral degrees. All the Ivies are well represented here, of course, but Swarthmore's placement among the top five may come as a surprise. An uncommonly large number of graduates of this small school near Philadelphia--which was founded by Quakers--go on to get their Ph.D.s
About the Rankings:
Researchers Peter Bernstein and Courtney Kennedy drew dozens of sources to compile these rankings including information from the National Center for Education Statistics, The Washington Monthly, and College Prowler. A portion of the data they used is at the end of this slideshow, but for the full methodologies, see our FAQ here. And if you're not a rankings fan, take a look at this piece by Colin Diver, the president of Reed College, about why schools dislike rankings and how students can use them wisely as part of their college decision-making process.