What do the numbers show?

With the annual parade of college rankings bigger than ever, SCU scores high, especially when it comes to return on investment.

With the annual parade of college rankings bigger than ever, SCU scores high, especially when it comes to return on investment.

Every year parents and soon-to-be college applicants scour the lists of college rankings, trying to find the right match. Certainly “best of ” lists exude a certain attraction, but it helps to know what you’re looking for—especially these days, when the field of rankings-compilers has become considerably more crowded.

The proliferation of lists means that the lists themselves “have lost their misplaced position of importance,” SCU’s Vice President of Enrollment Management Mike Sexton told MSNBC earlier this year. “Every magazine has to have some slant on colleges, and everybody and their mother keeps writing books on college admissions,” he added.

Hear, hear! Acknowledging that there might not be simple answers to complex questions (like which college to choose, and why), there are some interesting assessments in the rankings this year.

Bang for the buck
At Businessweek, college rankings draw on research by Payscale on “What is your degree worth?” Santa Clara scores 33rd out of 554 schools nationwide for delivering the most “bang for your buck” upon graduation. The total cost of graduation is around $187,500; net return on investment over a 30-year period for graduates—$1,261,000. That comes to an 11.1 percent annualized net return on investment.

No. 4 among “colleges that will make you rich”
Over at Forbes.com, their ranking of the best schools nationwide saw SCU jump a few notches to No. 115 (up from 150 nationally). But Santa Clara becomes a true rock star when you flip to the list of “colleges that will make you rich” (or, in other words, “These schools do the best job of raising their students above expectations”). Sharing the stage with SCU at the top of the list: Williams, Dartmouth, and Stanford.

Quality of life
In the 2011 installment of Princeton Review’s The Best 373 Colleges, SCU gets a nod for being one of the best institutions for undergraduate education and lands on the list of “Best Western Colleges.” Among especially high marks: quality of life and commitment to sustainability. Only the top 15 percent of 2,000 four-year colleges in the United States are profiled in the book.

Freshmen come back
The granddaddy in the rankings game is U.S. News & World Report, which once again esteems SCU the No. 2 master’s university in the West. When it comes to graduation rates, SCU is in the top three in the country among master’s level universities. Other highlights: The School of Engineering is ranked No. 17; and SCU has the highest freshman retention rate—93 percent—among master’s universities in the West.

Drumroll, Please!

Santa Clara University’s renovated jazz studio gives music majors and non-majors more space to find their sound.

A Plan For Tomorrow

Santa Clara President Julie Sullivan unveils a new strategic plan, Impact 2030, with a focus on increasing access and opportunity, and, of course, SCU’s Jesuit values and Silicon Valley location.

Hoops of Hope

From pink socks to non-profit outreach, Santa Clara Women’s Basketball hosted their annual Pink Game to honor families impacted by cancer.

Flight and Food

Birds can be the key to understanding the environment and SCU students are taking a closer look.