Roughneck16 OP t1_jax8see wrote

So the main advantage of elite universities isn't the quality of the instruction, it's the strength of the alumni network. A Brown alumnus can major in something irrelevant and leverage their professional connections with the scions of wealthy and well-connected families to land a good-paying jobs. And you're right, many jobs are all about OJT and that foundation in reasoning and communication skills will prove invaluable. That was the same logic the military had on commissioning me to be an officer with my BS in civil engineering (which I didn't directly use for most of my career, but helped me develop invaluable problem-solving skills.)

I went to a non-elite institution (it's still on that chart), but honestly I could've gone to any college and my career would've been the same. Prestige is mostly a non-issue in engineering.


Roughneck16 OP t1_jaukc32 wrote


US News and World Report





Yield is the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll. If a university has a high yield rate, it’s more likely to be the first choice of the students who apply there.


With a coefficient of determination of 0.51, we know that 51% of the variance in the yield can be predicted using the acceptance rate. That's a strong negative correlation. Basically, the lower the percentage of applicants admitted, the more likely those applicants will choose to enroll.

But, of course, some schools buck that trend. By using a line of best fit to project the predicted outcomes and subtracting it from the observed outcomes, we can see the residuals. Here are the top 20 universities in which students seem unusually eager to enroll:

+ University Residual
1 Brigham Young University 52.88%
2 Gallaudet University 36.28%
3 Yeshiva University 31.75%
4 Harvard University 31.25%
5 Princeton University 30.25%
6 University of Chicago 29.19%
7 Stanford University 28.25%
8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 25.25%
9 University of Pennsylvania 24.19%
10 University of Utah 21.66%
11 Texas A&M University-College Station 20.21%
12 Yale University 19.72%
13 Dartmouth College 19.19%
14 University of Kansas 18.26%
15 Iowa State University 17.80%
16 University of Oklahoma 17.00%
17 Brown University 15.19%
18 Cornell University 14.58%
19 University of Missouri 14.27%
20 Arizona State University-Tempe 13.40%

In other words, BYU's yield is a full 52.88 points above where it should be when you consider its relatively high acceptance rate. That’s unsurprising considering how BYU is a niche school sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS students only have to pay ~$3k per semester to attend. Students also have to sign a strict honor code, which scares away many non-LDS applicants. Yeshiva and Notre Dame are also religious schools, for the Jewish and Roman Catholic faiths, respectively. All three of these religions emphasize endogamy (marrying their own kind) so it should come as no surprise that many students meet their significant other while attending. Gallaudet University is also an interesting outlier, as it’s a school for the deaf.

You may be surprised to see Ivy League schools on this list, considering how they have such low acceptance rates. Keep in mind: admissions to elite colleges isn’t a strict meritocracy. Of course, you have to have sky-high grades and test scores to be considered, but beyond that, it’s a crap shoot. It’s possible for someone to have the perfect application and still get into only one if any Ivy League school. And when you consider how most of these students either have rich parents or get generous need-based assistance, most choose to enroll whichever one lets them in.


Using that same line of best fit, here are the bottom 20 residuals:

+ University Residual
1 University of California-Santa Barbara -24.10%
2 Case Western Reserve University -23.63%
3 University of California-Irvine -19.10%
4 University of California-San Diego -18.77%
5 Clark University -18.24%
6 University of Miami -17.56%
7 Boston University -16.76%
8 California State University-Long Beach -16.71%
9 Fordham University -15.58%
10 Binghamton University -15.11%
11 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute -14.91%
12 University of Rochester -14.50%
13 Loyola Marymount University -14.17%
14 University of California-Santa Cruz -14.12%
15 Emory University -13.55%
16 Stony Brook University -13.24%
17 Villanova University -12.96%
18 Pepperdine University -12.91%
19 University of Denver -12.79%
20 University of California-Davis -12.78%

My guess is that many of the high-performing students who get into these schools decline to enroll because they don’t offer adequate financial aid, or they get better offers elsewhere.


It does. The coefficient of determination between rank and yield is 0.41, which is a significant predictor although somewhat less so than the acceptance rate. I’m reluctant to use the USNWR rankings as they are arbitrary and unscientific. Also, there are quite a few ties in there.

Asking which is the “top school” is like asking which animals make better pets: cats or dogs?