Parchment Releases 2nd Annual ‘Student Choice College Rankings’

Unique Ranking System allows comparisons between all colleges based on where students actually choose to enroll

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Sept. 5, 2012) – Parchment Inc. today released its 2013 Student Choice College Rankings, the only system that compares colleges based on actual acceptance and enrollment data. Compared to the 2012 rankings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is now ranked in the Top 5 colleges and University of Chicago, Brown University, and Amherst College are now ranked among the Top 10 colleges.

The Top 10 institutions in the 2013 Student Choice College Rankings are:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Yale University
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. Princeton University
  6. University of Chicago
  7. Brown University
  8. Caltech
  9. Amherst College
  10. U.S. Air Force Academy

For the complete 2013 Student Choice College Rankings list, visit:

The 2013 Parchment Student Choice Rankings were based on a sampling of more than 200,000 college acceptances from 2009 to 2012 with data from all 50 states, an increase of 67 percent in the data set since the 2012 rankings. Unlike rankings based on subjective judgments like reputation, or factors subject to “gaming,” such as how many applicants a college rejects, Parchment ranks colleges and universities based solely on the decisions of hundreds of thousands of students who were admitted to multiple colleges and ultimately chose one to attend.

When a student is admitted to several colleges, he or she must decide which school to attend. This decision reveals a preference for the chosen school compared to the other schools the student could have attended. After observing enough of these decisions, Parchment ranks the colleges based on the students’ revealed preferences. This method for ranking colleges is derived from physicist Arpad Elo’s rating system for chess players, which was later studied by Harvard University professors Caroline Hoxby and Mark Glickman. This results in the colleges ranked not from “best” to “worst,” but instead from “most likely to be chosen” to “least likely to be chosen.” Schools can only move up in the rankings by making their programs more appealing to prospective students. The rankings system aligns the interests of colleges and students to support better match-ups.

A unique result of this methodology is that all colleges can be ranked in a single list unlike the multiple lists often published by other ranking systems separating colleges arbitrarily into “National,” “Liberal Arts” or “Regional.” To compare the Student Choice Rankings of any two schools, try the College Matchup app at

“Colleges can game other rankings systems – boosting their position by taking certain steps to appear more selective or have higher student test scores,” said General Manager Brent Pirruccello. “Parchment’s rankings provide the only list that is student-centric and equitable in that student decisions are the sole criteria used in comparing a broad-base of higher education institutions, putting them all on a level playing field.”

The rankings are based on student enrollment decision data from, a free service students use to research colleges and discover their chances of admission, see how they compare with peers, get college recommendations, and send official transcripts when they are ready to apply. Students using can opt-in to make their enrollment decision data available for the Student Choice College Rankings.

About Parchment
Parchment is the leader in electronic transcript (e-transcript) exchange. More than 9,000 high schools (over 30 percent of the U.S. secondary school market) and postsecondary institutions have exchanged 4 million transcripts using the Docufide by Parchment™ SaaS platform. Beyond providing the cost and operational efficiencies of electronic transcripts, Parchment works with learners and institutions around the world to unlock the value of transcript and credential data – helping people collect, promote, and share their education credentials in simple and secure ways. At, students can research colleges and discover their chances of admission, see how they compare with peers, get college recommendations, and send official transcripts when they are ready to apply. Founded in 2003, Parchment Inc. is a venture-backed company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. with offices in Roseville, Calif. and Washington, D.C.

• Rajeev Arora, Parchment, Inc., 480-719-1646 x1090,

• Kristen Plemon, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x18,