While this ranking isn't totally free of the kinds of subjective influences that tend to diminish the value of more familiar lists such as those generated by US News & World Report or Forbes, the tool itself is nifty and could be useful for purposes of comparing different colleges across published metrics such as acceptance rate, total enrolled students, standardized test scores, or tuition.
For example, using the state filter, I come up with 187 colleges and universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Washington & Lee comes up at the top based on “smart rank,” followed by the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Richmond. If ranked by size and limited by 4-year college length, Liberty University comes out on top followed by George Mason University, VCU, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion University.
To generate “smart rank,” FindTheBest uses a combination of “expert ratings” (ARWU, Forbes, US News, etc.), acceptance rate, average SAT Critical Reading, average SAT Math, full time retention and yield.
Because the heavy reliance on “experts” lends subjectivity, the results tend to follow familiar patterns. But the other filters are more objective and might help in your search to find the best “fit” based on comparisons.
And the tool is a little easier to use than College Navigator. Just be aware that for-profits and community colleges are included in the data bank, and you have to filter them out if that’s your intent.
To get you started, here are the top ten colleges and universities ranked by FindTheBest: