web analytics

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.