Monday, January 5, 2015

Top Schools by Geography

Everyone knows the best colleges in the country are in the Northeast. Right?

Well, let’s take a look and see. 

I’ll be using that hoary, old (but widely recognized) yardstick, the US News & World Report rankings. I’ll also be looking at only large-scale, or full (they call them “national”), universities.

The Top 10

Well, it looks like the Northeast does have a lock on the top 10 at least, making up a full 60% of the offerings.  The remaining 4 are scattered across 3 different regions.

Interestingly, California has two of those, making it tied with Massachusetts as the only state with multiple schools in such lofty company. Now, I’m sure we all guessed Stanford as one of those.  How about the other one though? Yup, it’s Cal Tech – you know, where Leonard, and Sheldon, and all the rest of The Big Bang Theory crew work. (The Massachusetts schools are, of course, Harvard and MIT.)

How many of the remaining schools can you name? Answers after the illustration.



Yale, Columbia, Penn, Princeton, Duke, Chicago

The Top 25

Branching out a little more, we see that the Northeast no longer dominates the rest of the country. Score: Northeast 12, Rest of U.S. 13.

Also, California has leapt into the lead as the state with the most top schools, with 5 (MA, NY, PA, and IL all are next with two). Wondering who’s been added to Stanford and Cal Tech? How about Berkeley, UCLA, and USC? Interestingly, though, no other Western state has even one school.

Though the Northeast and CA still dominate, it’s good to see two other regions make a real showing. In addition to Duke, the South now includes Emory, Vanderbilt, UVA, and Rice. In addition to Chicago, the Midwest now includes Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Washington Univ. of St. Louis.

Can you name the additional Northeast universities? Here’s a hint … Just in case your state recognition skills aren’t that good, we’ve got additional schools in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.  Answers after the map.


Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown

The Top 50

Let’s take one more look.  As you can see, our previous themes have largely simply been amplified:
  • The Northeast makes up nearly half (23, to be exact)
  • CA has the greatest number of any one state (9)
  • The rest of the West is pretty quiet, with only the Univ. of Washington to add to the mix
  • The South is the second strongest region, with 11
  • The Midwest is the next strongest, with 8
  • There are no top schools in the Plains States

Want to see who the other 24 colleges are? Start right here.


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