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The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, Second Edition by Lynn O’Shaughnessy

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42. Grading Academic Departments

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What are the best colleges for my intended major?” I’ve been asked this by prospective majors in just about every subject imaginable. My reply is always the same: You are asking the wrong question. The real question students and parents should be asking at the start of their college search is not which programs are “best,” but rather “what are the elements of a strong program in a particular major?”

—Carolyn Z. Lawrence, private college counselor

When US News & World Report declared in the mid 2000s that the economics department at the University of California, San Diego, had earned its way onto the list of the nation’s top ten econ departments, it was considered ...

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