College Combat FAQ

What is College Combat?

College Combat was created as a fun way to help compare two schools at a glance, allowing someone to indicate what factors they consider important and to declare a winner based on that.

What does each factor mean?

The best place to read more about each factor would be to read the Best Colleges Rankings Overview. This article outlines most of the factors included in College Combat. Also, clicking on the grade that is shown for each school will send you to more detailed information about each particular factor for a given school.

How is the winner determined?

For each factor included in College Combat, a school is awarded a grade based on its performance. The better the grade, the more points that school earns, with A+ being the best and F- the worst. These points are then totaled for each school and shown at the bottom of the page. The school with the most points is declared the winner.

How do I indicate what is important to me?

By default, all factors are weighted equally. A grade of “A+” for something like Graduation Rate is worth the same number of points as an “A+” for Nationwide Value. Each person may consider some things to be more or less important than others.

Rather than force a ‘one-size-fits-all’ set of rules on everyone, we allow you to select how important each factor is using the options shown below each factor name. Increasing the importance of a factor increases the points awarded for that factor while decreasing it reduces the points awarded for that factor.

Setting Preferences in College Combat
Setting Preferences in College Combat

Upon changing the importance of each factor, it may look as though nothing changed. Note however, the color of the row will change. Light means it has been given less weight. Dark means it has been given more. In addition, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to see that the total points and the winner has been re-calculated based on the selected preferences. We are currently working on ways to make this change more obvious and easier to use -- one of the several reasons this is still in ‘beta’! We encourage you to provide your feedback on how we can improve this college comparison tool to be more helpful to you during your college selection process.

Why Is this different than the Best Colleges rankings?

The goals of College Combat is not to replicate our Best Colleges rankings, but instead to allow someone to determine the school that is the best fit for them based on their own unique preferences. Because we don’t know what someone’s preferences are until they tell us, we start out with all factors weighted equally. This creates a winner in College Combat that may differ from their College Factual rankings, which have very specific weightings for certain factors.

Additionally, College Combat includes several factors that are not part of our core Best Colleges rankings, such as each school's value for the money and diversity scores. With these factors added, any number of changes can happen in a school's status as winner over another, even though that school might be ranked higher in an overall list.