Is it worth paying more for a “top 10” school?
You get accepted to a private school / Ivy League that will cost a fortune. You’re also accepted by a public university which doesn’t have as good a reputation but costs much less. Does it matter which one you choose?
One factor in your decision is if the school will increase your chance of being successful. A school could be ‘worth it’ if it produces successful people, which we define as its alumni appearing in Wikipedia.
To answer this question, we identified the number of ‘successful’ graduates for each college (defined as the alumni appearing in Wikipedia). We calculated the likelihood of appearing in Wikipedia if one was an alumni from a given college.
The likelihood of a college alumnus appearing in Wikipedia is calculated as a relative ratio.
If the relative ratio is 1, then that means that the number of alumnus observed in Wikipedia follows what’s expected based on the college size.
If the relative ratio is greater than 1, then that means that the number of people in Wikipedia is higher than what’s expected base on its college size — and this school increases your chance of success.
The table below shows the colleges with the most Wikipedia enrichment.
For example, Harvard has a relative ratio of 50, which means that alumni are 50x more likely to appear in Wikipedia than expected.
|College||Enrichment in Wikipedia|
|American Conservatory Theater||124.63|
|Curtis Institute of Music||59.97|
|San Francisco Art Institute||25.80|
|Manhattan School of Music||16.17|
|New England Conservatory of Music||16.12|
|California Institute of the Arts||14.62|
|California Institute of Technology||12.96|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||11.27|
|Golden Gate University||12.22|
|Cleveland Institute of Music||12.57|
|Johns Hopkins University||8.20|
|University of Chicago||7.96|
|Sarah Lawrence College||8.83|
|Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art||9.25|
|Berklee College of Music||7.43|
|Rhode Island School of Design||7.68|
|San Francisco Conservatory of Music||8.36|
|University of Pennsylvania||5.36|
|National Defense University||6.69|
|University of California Berkeley||4.95|
|University of Southern California||4.77|
|University of California Los Angeles||4.75|
|St. John's College||6.72|
|Art Center College of Design||5.49|
|University of Notre Dame||4.50|
|Pontifical College Josephinum||8.50|
|University of Michigan||3.99|
|University of Rochester||4.15|
|School of Visual Arts||4.39|
|University of Miami||4.04|
|University of Virginia||3.90|
|New York University||3.80|
|Mannes College of Music||4.84|
|Southern Methodist University||3.89|
|United States Military Academy||4.10|
|United States Naval Academy||3.99|
|Naval Postgraduate School||4.43|
|United States Air Force Academy||3.91|
|Wake Forest University||3.75|
|University of Richmond||3.96|
|College of the Holy Cross||3.99|
|Lake Forest College||4.21|
|School of the Museum of Fine Arts||4.58|
|Bryn Mawr College||3.87|
|Catholic University of America||3.34|
|Antioch University Los Angeles||6.24|
|Kansas City Art Institute||4.28|
|Carnegie Mellon University||3.04|
|Mount Holyoke College||3.27|
|St. Charles Borromeo Seminary||5.24|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||3.06|
|Warren Wilson College||3.59|
|University of Texas at Austin||2.38|
|Otis College of Art and Design||3.18|
|Louisiana State University||2.26|
|University of Tulsa||2.59|
|University of Dallas||2.70|
|University of the Southwest||3.49|
The relative ratio of appearing in Wikipedia is plotted against the U.S. News & World Report rankings. We see that people who attend the top-ranked schools do have a higher likelihood of appearing in Wikipedia.
So this supports going to a top-rank school. Also notice what happens after rank 40, the college doesn’t seem to matter for getting into Wikipedia.
Also, check out my earlier post which show that you don’t even need to go to college for certain professions.