2011 Top 300 Colleges and Universities Ranked by Internet ‘Brand Equity’


Wisconsin Tops Chicago and Harvard in Universities; Davidson over Occidental and Williams in Colleges


Historic Re-alignment of what is considered an ‘elite’ school


AUSTIN, Texas January 11, 2011 (Updated) — The University of Wisconsin at Madison, one of the nation’s most storied land-grant institutions, leaped over Chicago, Harvard, MIT, Columbia and two-time defending No. 1 (and fellow Big Ten academic  powerhouse) Michigan, as the Top University according to the TrendTopper MediaBuzz Internet analysis released by the Global Language Monitor.

There have now had three different schools taking the top spot for Universities in the last three years:  Harvard, Michigan and now Wisconsin.  As for Harvard, it slipped to No. 3, while the University of Chicago moved into the No. 2 spot.  Cornell University and the University of California at Berkeley broke into the Top Ten, knocking out Stanford and Princeton.  UCLA also fell out of the Top Ten.  Other big movers included Georgetown, California-Davis and CalTech, each moving up 10 or more spots.

“The ‘flight to quality’ continues unabated.  The savvy consumer of the education marketplace appears centered on the price-sensitive ‘public ivies’ and technology-centered schools, as well as on-line alternatives.  The solidly performing ‘little ivies’ are now now fairly well distributed across the country– and are holding their own,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.”  One  aftermath of the recent recession is that consumers understand that it is smart not to accept ‘retail pricing’ and that colleges are no different in this regard from any other institution.”

The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings are a way of seeing the schools through the eyes of the world at large. It is a democratic, self-generating ratings system, since it captures the brand equity associated with each of these fine institutions. GLM’s TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings actually removes all bias inherent in each of the other published rankings, since they actually reflect what is being said and stated on the billions of web pages that we measure.

The  TrendTopper MediaBuzz Analysis uses the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classifications as the basis to distinguish between Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges. The schools were ranked in the last week of December with a mid-year snapshot, and the last day of 2009 as the base.

TrendTopper MediaBuzz utilizes a mathematical model that ‘normalizes’ the data collected from the Internet, social media, and blogosphere as well as the top 75,000 print and electronic media.  The end result is a non-biased analytical tool that provides a gauge of relative values among various institutions, as well as measures of how that value changes over time.

The Top Ten Universities by the TrendTopper MediaBuzz Internet rankings follow.

1.   Univ. of Wisconsin—Madison

2.   University of Chicago

3.   Harvard University

4.   Mass. Institute of Technology

5.   Columbia University

6.   Univ. of Michigan—Ann Arbor

7.   Cornell University

8.   University of California–Berkeley

9.  Yale University

10.   University of Texas—Austin


The Top Twenty Universities now include four Ivy League schools, four Public Ivy’s (two from the Big Ten), one technological institute and the always formidable University of Chicago.






The College category also produced a new No. 1, Davidson College of North Carolina.  This is the fourth different college to take the top spot since these rankings began which now have been represented by the West (Colorado College), the East (Wellesley College) and the Midwest (Carleton College).  Wellesley was also the only Women’s College to top a general college ranking.


Davidson, as well as L.A.’s Occidental College (where President Obama spent his first year in college) both leaped over the Little Three (Amherst, Williams and Wesleyan University) as well as all three previous No. 1’s.

The Top Ten Colleges by the TrendTopper MediaBuzz Internet rankings follow.

1.   Davidson College

2.   Occidental College

3.   Williams College

4.   Wesleyan University

5.   Carleton College

6.   Amherst College

7.   Bucknell University

8.   Oberlin College

9.   United States Air Force Academy

10.  Pomona College

The Top Ten among colleges included Bucknell, Oberlin, Pomona and the US Air Force Academy.  The Top Twenty included the Little Three, four of the former Seven Sisters (though Vassar is now co-ed), two Patriot League schools, two US Service Academies, the top Catholic College in the US (College of the Holy Cross), two of the Claremont Colleges, and two schools that are not included in the traditional college rankings:  the Juilliard School and Pratt Institute, both in New York City.

The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings are the only to  include specialty schools, such as Art, Business, Design, Music, as well as Internet-based (and for-profit)   All these were included in the College category with the exception of the online university, which was assigned to the University category.





NY Named Top State for Top Colleges for 2010

Calif, Mass, Pa, Ill, Ohio, Va, Texas, NC and Minn follow

AUSTIN, Texas. (August 26, 2010) — New York state has been named the Top State for Top Colleges followed by California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Illinois.  Ohio, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Minnesota rounded out the Top Ten.  The list was assembled by the Global Language Monitor in its twice yearly TrendTopper Media Buzz analysis of the nation’s Top 300 Colleges and Universities.

“The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings is a democratic, self-generating ratings system, since it captures the brand equity associated with each of these fine institutions.  We survey social media such as Twitter, as well as the Internet, blogosphere, and the global print and electronic media.” said Paul JJ Payack, the president of Global Language Monitor.  “As such, we remove the biases inherently built into each of the other published rankings.  For example, US News recently announced that it has changed a key component to their rankings thereby lowering the value of year-by-year comparisons.”

The Top Ten States with the Most Top Colleges are listed below.  Listings include Ranking, the number of top schools in parentheses, the Top University and College, National Best of Class Institutions and Top Surprises for each state.

Asterisks (*) indicate National Best-in-Class

State Rank
No. 1 New York (44)
Top College Vassar College
Top University Columbia University
Top  Academy United States Military Academy *
Top Music School Juilliard School *
Top Design School Pratt Institute *
Top Surprise NY as the No. 1 State

No. 2
California (29)
Top College Pomona College
Top University University of California—Los Angeles
Top Surprise Stanford & UC San Diego top Berkeley

No. 3
Massachusetts (25)
Top University Harvard University
Top College Williams College
Top Business College Babson College *
Top Engineering School Massachusetts Institute of Technology *
Top Catholic School College of the Holy Cross *
Top Surprise Amherst falls out of Top 10

No. 4
Pennsylvania (22)
Top University Pennsylvania State University
Top College Bucknell University
Top Surprise Penn State over U of Pennsylvania

No. 5
Illinois (13)
Top University University of Chicago
Top College Wheaton College
Top Christian College Wheaton College *
Top Surprise Northwestern University at No. 39

No. 6
Ohio (11)
Top University Ohio State University—Columbus
Top College Kenyon College
Top  Surprise Oberlin College Slips

No. 7
Virginia (10)
Top College University of Richmond
Top University Virginia Tech
Top Surprise VT over UVA

No. 8
Texas (10)
Top University University of Texas—Austin
Top College Austin College
Top Surprise UT breaks into the Top Ten

No. 9
North Carolina (8)
Top  University Duke University
Top College Davidson College
Top Surprise UNC falls out of Top Ten

No. 10
Minnesota (8)
Top College Carleton College *
Top University University of Minnesota
Top Surprise Capella now No. 2 Internet School


The complete listings of all the states can be found here.

The Global Language Monitor publishes the TrendTopper Media Buzz College and University Rankings.  twice a year, with spring and fall editions.  Many institutions of higher education, including Harvard, Boston College, and Vanderbilt have used the rankings as a validation of their recent reputation management decisions.


Pomona College Ranked Sixth in Media Awareness

Pomona College is currently ranked sixth out of all colleges on The Global Language Monitor’s TrendTopper MediaBuzz College and University Rankings.

The report, released biannually, ranks colleges and universities in terms of their presence in international print and electronic media. The report is meant to assess schools’ media awareness and global reputations.

Pomona rose from its position of 21 in the spring 2009 college rankings to sixth this previous fall. The top-ranked college was Wellesley College, while the University of Michigan topped the university rankings.

“During 2008-09, Pomona College was mentioned more than 2,800 times in print, broadcast, and on online news sites, a record for the nine years we’ve been tracking,” said Cynthia Peters, Director of Media Relations at Pomona College.  (Read More.)

GLM’s Top 300 Colleges and Universities Spring 2010 Edition will be released Week of May 24th.

See November Rankings here.

Read more

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