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There are many great schools that get passed over in most college rankings. At CollegeVine, many of the students we work with are surprised to find new schools to add to their lists that offer better financial aid and job outcomes than they might have thought. Through working with over 6,000 students at this point, we’ve found about 10 schools that are consistently underrated, but which students and parents shouldn’t discount.
How we put this list together:
The traditional college rankings do a decent job of ranking the best universities, but because of how these formulas are constructed, there are some serious factors that get left out. When we look to advise families on colleges that are underrated, our primary focus is on outcomes — more specifically financial outcomes like starting salary and ROI, as well as qualitative outcomes like job placements.
We took into consideration the following criteria:
Cost of attendance and generosity of financial aid & scholarshipsOne and five-year ROI after graduationFinancial performance of specific majorsQualitative data on career outcomes like job placements and grad school progression.
The top ten most underrated schools are:
1. San Jose State University
San Jose State is chronically underrated by most families and guidance counselors. Because of its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, students pursuing STEM have really good outcomes (thanks to the job market in the Bay Area).
US News ranks San Jose State outside of its top 300 colleges, but for most STEM majors (computer science, statistics/data science, electrical engineering, etc.) San Jose State is comfortably in the Top 40 when it comes to return on investment based on CollegeVine’s analysis.