For a published college rankling to be useful during application season, it has to emphasize factors that matter to applicants. For example, if a ranking places significant weight (e.g. more than 25%) on the percentage of instructors who has a Ph.D., it is natural to ask if having a doctorate makes someone a better instructor. Alumni donations is another factor that may seem less consequential at first glance. However, generous donations can allow for more financial aid, better equipment and a greater selection of learning programs.
Because publishers do make their methodology public to some extent, applicants to elite colleges should take the time and examine these disclosures with family to make sure that they are following information sources that will lead to informed decisions.