The purpose of this article is to explain a little about how the rankings on the site are calculated and help users accurately interpret the rankings.
The rankings are on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the best ranking possible. So if a school has a clinical ranking of 5, that program provides one of the best clinical experiences in the country. A 1 would mean that program provides one of the worst clinical experiences in the country, compared to other programs. 3 is the average clinical experience.
All the rankings are aggregate scores based on an algorithm that incorporates several different factors for each category.
For clinical rankings, the algorithm incorporates the average number of different procedures performed, how difficult it is to find patients and reserve a chair, the technology students are able to use, etc.
For research, some of the criteria include the amount of research funding each program receives, ease of finding research and number of research opportunities, what percent of students participate in research at that program, etc.
For social, some of the criteria include the length of summer breaks, how much free time students at that program have, how much there is to do in that program's location, activity levels of the school's social organizations, etc.
For specialization, some of the criteria include the percent of students that match into specialties each year, availability of research, average amount of free time, whether or not there are specialty programs at that school, etc.
To more clearly illustrate the differences between various program ranks, let's look some examples. Ohio State currently has a clinical rank of 1. They do less procedures than the average school, but enough procedures to be considered a 2. However, their current facilities are very old and equipment often breaks down in the middle of procedures. These malfunctions paired with other clinical issues (read their full review for more info) knock them down to a rank of 1. In other words, if you enroll there, you will do less than the average number of procedures in a difficult clinical environment.
On the other hand, Midwestern (Arizona) has a clinical rank of 5. Students at Midwestern work with the latest technology, have a large patient pool, and blow other programs away with the amount of procedures they perform. Each year nearly 80% of their graduating class enters private practice. That is an astounding number. Due to their wealth of experience, very few students (if any) enter GPRs/AEGDs. In other words, if you enroll there, you will do far more procedures than students at most other programs and will operate in an efficient clinical environment.
The same comparisons could be made between all our other categories of rankings. When trying to decide where to apply and enroll, ask yourself which of the four rankings are most important to you. You can then use our sortable table to list the schools that are strongest at what you most desire in a program. That is the beauty of the site and these rankings: every school has strengths and weaknesses. With our resources, you can easily see those strengths and weaknesses and select the programs that fit you and your career aspirations the best.