As stated on our About page, Best College Reviews began publishing educational rankings with the goal of providing competitive content through an authoritative, objective, and editorially independent college review journal. Although BCR releases rankings on every type of college degree, we prioritize the evaluation of available online degrees.
The content and functionality of BCR content are maintained by editorial staff who work autonomously alongside HigherEducational.com to provide as many resources possible to future college students.
To provide unbiased and objective reporting, BCR hires independent researchers to obtain each published ranking. We refrain from compensating researchers for obligatory or favorable reporting. Each ranking article is individually researched, and Degrees programs are only capable of experiencing a favorable ranking through their ability to be transparent and accountable to their students and organizations such as the National Center for Education Statistics.
Degree information is collected from data sources such as the NCES' College Navigator, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Labor. BCR utilizes many sources outside of national public data, however, and also consults information about degree outcomes, institutional success rates, and student satisfaction from self-reported alumni and employment agencies.
During the process of ranking accredited universities and colleges, BCR uses five weighted categories based upon: Earning Potential, Student Satisfaction, Degree Affordability, Retention Data, and Acceptance Rates.
Best College Reviews rates student satisfaction by collecting student and alumni reviews on websites such as RateMyProfessors.com and PayScale.com. In fact, 60 percent of this category is weighted directly from Rate My Professors alone.
Earning potential is worth 30 percent of any degree ranking and is dependent on the average reported mid-career pay of alumni. BCR cites the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook and The PayScale Index to collect hard data on the annual salary of degree graduates. Other resources include Glassdoor and Center on Education and the Workforce
BCR collects retention data from the National Center of Education Statistics' College Navigator and includes the percentage of students enrolled after the first year of starting their degree. Other helpful resources involving college retention data include NCES' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard
Affordability is measured by expense reports published by the NCES' College Navigator. Reported expenses include overall tuition net price, student fees; financial aid availability; and the average cost of student living. Sources such as Forbes, Student Loan Hero, and College Scorecard help provide additional data on tuition affordability.
Acceptance rates are partially measured by how competitive a student's SAT score needs to be for specific applications. SAT critical reading and math exams are reported by the NCES College Navigator and College Scorecard.