When taking into account the fierce 122-year rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University it is no surprise that the two colleges, both located in Alabama, would show at least a glimpse of their competitive natures when the opportunity to be ranked as the best college in the state is presented. The opposing schools simply cannot pass-up an opportunity to beat their most prominenant rival.
The original article that reported the rankings conducted by American City Business Journals is by G. Scott Thomas. The Business Journals analyzed public colleges to support Richard Moll's belief that public colleges in America are not being honored as much as they deserve in comparison to private colleges. According to Thomas' article, Moll believed that several public institutions were delivering "an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price," without receiving the recognition they truly deserved.
American City Business Journals used a five-star rating system that incorporated a 19-part formula to analyze 484 American public universities. Data that was released by the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey in addition to recently published college rankings from Washington Monthly, Forbes, Kiplinger's and U.S. News was used to create the report.
The rankings were developed to aid in recognizing which public colleges provide students with the best overall college experience. Each category that the colleges were scored in had a highest possible rating of five stars. Scores were based on admissions processes as well as graduation and retention rates. Schools with highly selective admissions processes, strong retention and graduation rates, prestigious reputations, diverse faculties and student bodies, economically robust communities and affordable housing costs and tuition were given the highest scores.
Auburn University's scores enabled Auburn to be ranked as the best public college in Alabama, with an overall ranking of No. 52. Its high placement scores rooted from its four star ratings in the selectivity, advancement and prestige categories. The categories of community, diversity and cost categories earned only three stars.
The University of Alabama, Auburn University's longtime rival in sports and academia, was ranked slightly lower than Auburn at No. 58. University of Alabama's high scores in diversity, selectivity, advancement and prestige unfortunately did not make up for the two-star ratings received in the community and costs categories.
When the completed ranking list was released, many Auburn University students were excited to hear that Auburn was listed as the highest-rated public college overall in Alabama. Austin Northenor, a senior at Auburn University majoring in public relations, was among this group of proud students.
"It has been an honor to have the opportunity to attend Auburn University. Even as a senior, when I learn about Auburn's achievements, no matter how important or insignificant they are, it causes me to gain even more appreciation and respect for my university," said Northenor.
The top five on the list was comprised of the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, the University of Michigan and the University of California-Berkeley. For 30 years the University of Michigan has been ranked as the best public college in America. A score of five stars in all categories was not awarded to any of the 484 colleges that were analyzed.
(Photos via Google Public Use Images)
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