University Benchmarks

Ranking the Top 100 Academic Universities ranks the universities that attract and produce the best academic students.

There are many 'University Rankings' on the internet. Most rankings rely heavily on subjective metrics like 'reputation' and 'selectivity'. UniversityBenchmarks is purely an academic ranking model. The rankings are based on the reported academic and financial metrics of the colleges. There are no subjective factors like 'reputation' that are used. The calculations are performed using normal statistical models. All universities are considered equal and there is no weighting of the ranking categories.

The university 2014-2015 dataset is comprised of over 2400 US Universities & Colleges and comes from multiple sources using the most favorable reported metrics for a university.

The universities are ranked against each other in each filtered set. It is an iterative process whereby lower ranking universities are removed and the set is re-ranked until the final set of 100 is reached.

Selecting 'Rank Top 10 Only' will show the Top 10 for each filter category ranked against each other.

The academic rankings of the universities within the major conferences (ACC, Big12, Big10, Pac12, SEC) are available.

The 2017 rankings will be available in August.

  • It is possible for universities to be ranked higher/lower than one another depending on the filter set.
  • Conference averages are based on the top 8 schools in the conference.
  • Public Schools are highlighted
  • Clicking on the university's seal icon will take you to the university's website.

Ranking Fields

Rank - Overall rank based on the average of the ranking fields (Scores, Difficulty, Smartest, Brainpower, Faculty and Research).

Scores - SAT & ACT scores. The university's test scores are corrected for dropout rate when score level is Good, Excellent or Elite. This will slightly boost scores for highly competitive schools.

Difficulty - Academic rigor is estimated based on how difficult it is to get an "A" at the university. An estimated GPA at the university is calculated for the average US Student. University grade inflation, average GPA, and STEM density are factors.

Smartest - University that can field the highest scoring students based on the average US University size. Higher Smartest Rank = "Smartest for the Average University"

Brainpower - The average "smartest" rank using 5 reference populations (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, GaTech and Berkeley). Higher Brainpower Rank = "Higher Density of Smart Students". The university ranked higher can mathematically field 'X' number of smarter students than universities ranked below them.

Faculty - Ranking based on number of % of faculty with awards and academy membership.

Research - Ranking is achieved by iteratively ranking the average of 3 research metrics (r-pop, r-stem, r-other ). The lowest ranked college is then removed and the new set is re-ranked. The result is the schools with potentially the strongest research environments per student bubble up to the top regardless of size or research budget.

  • r-pop - Average research spending for student population
  • r-stem - STEM research spending
  • r-other - Other/Medical/Health research spending

Salary ROI - "Salary Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. Using the undergraduate average starting and mid-career salaries, the rank is based on a 20yr salary accumulation (with raises) minus the cost of a 4 year education at the university. Salaries are normalized across the country using the average COLA for the university's geo-economic region (7 regions total). The COLA effect is diminished by the level of the university. Elite, Excellent and Good universities have a greater distribution of graduates across the country and a diminishing COLA effect. The resultant value would be the graduate's spending potential over the 20yr period.

Overall ROI - "Overall Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. The average of Overall Rank and Salary ROI. This would be the "Best academic bang for the buck". Colleges that produce the best education, at the best price, with the best return will be ranked higher.

Color Key - ranks are colorized as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100

The 2016 University Academic Rankings

State of West Virginia University Academic Rankings

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examples: Yale "Wake Forest" "Big Ten" TX NC

2016 West Virginia University Academic Rankings

2016 West Virginia University Academic Rankings
rank value image public university state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research r pop r stem r other salary ROI overall ROI scores value difficulty value smartest value brainpower value faculty value research value salary ROI value overall ROI value scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price scores valid
PublicWest Virginia UniversityWest VirginiaBig Twelve Conference111111111311545|642.82|301855|771766|74177|411.00|991432739|722.00|981545/1030/23Average24412.801622256366125570032895True
PublicShepherd UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference343322222521500|632.93|271426|591110|46300|02.00|981036196|523.50|971500/1000/23Average13512.80037762654160029808True
PublicMarshall UniversityWest VirginiaConference USA452222222641470|612.97|261656|691388|58300|02.00|981025794|514.00|961470/980/22BelowAverage17522.800953638453830028020True
PrivateWheeling Jesuit UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference2275222221691511|632.89|28621|26810|34300|02.00|98596006|3010.00|901511/1007/23Average15382.80011873883190036600True
PublicWest Virginia University Institute of TechnologyWest VirginiaIndependent Mid-South Region438622222221470|612.91|27540|23741|31300|02.00|981455659|733.50|971470/980/22BelowAverage100702.800126105570027165True
PublicFairmont State UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference1094422222871400|583.03|241320|55969|40300|02.00|98895093|457.00|931400/933/21BelowAverage34632.80037972384130024556True
PrivateWest Virginia Wesleyan CollegeWest VirginiaMountain East Conference669822222461455|612.98|26509|21719|30300|02.00|981397327|705.50|951455/970/22BelowAverage13442.80013901215570041748True
PublicConcord UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference77109222221081415|593.02|24430|18671|28300|02.00|98637854|329.00|911415/943/21BelowAverage23642.80022433023190026138True
PrivateUniversity of CharlestonWest VirginiaMountain East Conference98121122222151403|583.02|24405|17632|26300|02.00|981714094|865.00|951403/935/21BelowAverage20472.80015495626030036900True
PrivateAlderson Broaddus UniversityWest VirginiaIndependent Great Lakes Region...81011122222214131405|593.05|24410|17613|26300|02.00|98608822|3012.00|881405/937/21BelowAverage6512.8001038703190033396True
PublicWest Liberty UniversityWest VirginiaWest Virginia Intercollegiate ...1414672222211111375|573.07|23971|40738|31300|02.00|98631566|3210.50|901375/917/21BelowAverage8522.80025301643190027710True
PrivateDavis & Elkins CollegeWest Virginia111113132222218151395|583.06|24390|16579|24300|02.00|98580758|2915.00|851395/930/21BelowAverage2642.80084603190040412True
PublicWest Virginia State UniversityWest VirginiaWest Virginia Intercollegiate ...171751022222791295|543.14|211010|42640|27300|02.00|98929883|4610.00|901295/863/19BelowAverage14712.8002836483440028249True
PrivateAppalachian Bible CollegeWest VirginiaNo Conference Affiliation12121416222229121384|583.07|23367|15367|15300|02.00|98641686|3211.50|891384/922/21BelowAverage0672.80029573190025180True
PrivateOhio Valley UniversityWest Virginia131315182222212141380|583.07|23360|15360|15300|02.00|98625326|3113.50|871380/920/21BelowAverage2562.800400313190029270True
PrivateBethany CollegeWest VirginiaPresidents' Athletic Conference151616152222217181335|563.11|22270|11455|19300|02.00|98585718|2916.50|841335/890/20BelowAverage17512.800727303190039172True
PublicBluefield State CollegeWest VirginiaEastern College Athletic Conference161517142222215161320|553.09|23240|10486|20300|02.00|98598874|3015.50|851320/880/20BelowAverage61752.80015630319000True
PublicGlenville State CollegeWest VirginiaMountain East Conference181818172222213161245|523.19|2090|4361|15300|02.00|98616926|3115.50|851245/830/19BelowAverage12652.800180203190031370True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in West Virginia?

1. West Virginia University

2. Shepherd University

3. Marshall University

4. Wheeling Jesuit University

5. West Virginia University Institute of Technology

6. Fairmont State University

7. West Virginia Wesleyan College

2016 Top 10 West Virginia University Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 West Virginia University Academic Rankings
rank value public name state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price
11.07PublicWest Virginia UniversityWest VirginiaBig Twelve Conference111111311545/1030/23Average24412.801622256366125570032895
23.00PublicShepherd UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference343322521500/1000/23Average13512.80037762654160029808
23.00PublicMarshall UniversityWest VirginiaConference USA452222641470/980/22BelowAverage17522.800953638453830028020
43.17PrivateWheeling Jesuit UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference2265221081511/1007/23Average15382.80011873883190036600
54.40PublicWest Virginia University Institute of TechnologyWest VirginiaIndependent Mid-South Region437622221470/980/22BelowAverage100702.800126105570027165
65.60PublicFairmont State UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference994422771400/933/21BelowAverage34632.80037972384130024556
75.76PrivateWest Virginia Wesleyan CollegeWest VirginiaMountain East Conference668822451455/970/22BelowAverage13442.80013901215570041748
86.80PublicConcord UniversityWest VirginiaMountain East Conference779922891415/943/21BelowAverage23642.80022433023190026138
86.80PublicWest Liberty UniversityWest VirginiaWest Virginia Intercollegiate ...101057229101375/917/21BelowAverage8522.80025301643190027710
107.23PrivateUniversity of CharlestonWest VirginiaMountain East Conference88101022151403/935/21BelowAverage20472.80015495626030036900