Here's how we came up with our 2015 list of the best colleges in America
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For our seventh annual list of the 50 best colleges in America, we surveyed over 1,000 Business Insider readers, asking them to choose the colleges they think best prepare students for success after graduation.
This year, we also incorporated some other data into our ranking: The results of the survey accounted for 50% of the final ranking, but we also took into account average SAT scores of the students at each of the schools as reported by College Board (25%), and the median starting salaries among the schools' graduates as reported by PayScale (25%).
Over 90% of our survey takers had started or completed a bachelor's degree; this year, the pool of respondents skewed younger than in the past: Almost 29% said they had been in the workforce for less than a year, and another 26.3% reported being in the workforce for one to three years.
Like last year, the majority (35.2%) of survey respondents reported working in the finance industry, but another 15.1% are currently in school. The remaining 49.8% of those surveyed are spread out over a number of other fields, including technology, media, consulting, and healthcare.
Business was again the popular choice for the major that will help college students be most successful after graduation, but this year the margin was a lot wider: 40.2%, versus 23.8% for engineering and 14.5% for liberal arts. Computer science received a surprisingly small 14.3% of the vote, versus 16.3% last year.
One area that didn't change at all is what our survey takers think is the most valuable asset college provides. Academics won out in this category with 37.8% of respondents ranking the category with the highest choice of "1"; network followed with 19.4%, and finally brand value/reputation (16.7%).
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