Blog: The Educated Reporter

Social Media Giant Jumps at the College Rankings Game


If you’re into numbers, you may want to consider the University of Pennsylvania over Yale. Computers? Try Stanford. If the media is your desired career path, New York, Hofstra and Duke universities should be on your list.

These recommendations come from the first-ever college rankings list by LinkedIn for universities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The social networking site aimed at professionals claims to have compiled these lists by analyzing employment patterns of more than 300 million of its members from around the world, linking universities with the career outcomes of their graduates in eight broad fields: accounting, design, finance, investment banking, marketing, media, software developing and software developing at startups.

The website explained the process in a blog post Wednesday:

For example, here’s how we found the top schools for software developers:

First, we identified the top companies where software developers are choosing to work.

Next, we found people on LinkedIn who work as software developers and saw where they went to school.

Finally, for each school, we found the percentage of these alumni who’ve landed software development jobs at these top companies, then compared the percentages to come up with the list.

A second post states the formula included only “relevant graduates,” defined as alumni who are working in the same field as the rated college program. Also for relevancy’s sake, only graduates who have obtained degrees in the last eight years were considered.

Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain examines the new system in an article, in which he records both praise and criticism from data experts.

“I am no fan of rankings, let alone ranking institutions, but as a way of differentiating programs based on outcomes, I find this terribly interesting,” Tod Massa, director of policy research and data warehousing at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, told Fain. “In many ways, this might be a more valuable approach than just wages, in that it does appear to represent what individuals feel about their jobs and education.”

However, both Massa and Mark Schneider, a vice president at the American Institutes for Research and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, felt LinkedIn “is ranking only a tiny swath of the academy.”

The Hechinger Report higher education editor Jon Marcus also covered the rankings release. 


Looking for more resources on higher education? EWA has multiple topics pages, which include information on college affordability and admissions, as well as recent coverage of college rankings. 


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