What Makes a College ‘Selective’ — and Why It Matters

When researchers study selective colleges, they often use a group of 200 to 250 colleges, based on categories chosen by Barron’s, which publishes a popular college guide. I have cited such research in several recent articles and wanted to provide the list of those colleges. The first thing many people will notice about the list is that it includes a broad array of colleges: public and private, large and small, extremely selective and less so. Selective colleges — as higher-education researchers tend to define them — are not just the Ivy League, Stanford, Duke and the other usual suspects. They’re also Virginia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Bard, Fordham, New College of Florida, the Colorado School of Mines and five University of California campuses.

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