Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the data come from?
We use the most up-to-date data available from dozens of public data sources including the Department of Education, U.S. Census, and FBI. See a complete list of our data sources here
How do we calculate rankings and grades?
The specific methodology for each ranking can be found at the top of the rankings page. For a much more detailed explanation of our calculation process, see the following links: K-12 Rankings
, College Rankings
, Places to Live Rankings
How do we gather survey data?
Our registered users have the opportunity to review the K-12 schools or colleges they have attended, the schools their children have attended, and the places they have lived. This survey is hosted on our site and includes a variety of question types, including both open-ended and poll responses. To date, we have collected more than 120 million ratings and reviews across our platform.
How is this list organized?
In any ranking, a school or place must provide enough data for the factors to be given a numerical ranking. This means we must have at least 80% of the school’s or place’s data required for a ranking to be ranked. After the numerical rankings end, schools or places that have enough data to be assigned Niche Grades (but not enough data to be ranked) are listed by those Niche Grades. Schools at the end of the list are those schools that we do not have enough data to rank or grade and are listed by total enrollment.
What year is the data from?
All of our data represents the most recent data available from that data source
. Niche also collects data directly from schools and colleges via our school data update form.
What makes our rankings different?
We have more reviews and statistics on more schools and places than any other other site, giving us the most comprehensive coverage on K-12 schools, colleges, and places to live across the country. We then connect that data across content areas in ways that our competitors cannot. For example, because of the breadth of our data, we’re able to know the SAT/ACT scores from students at a certain high school, as well as the what colleges those students go on to attend. That unique advantage in K-12 coverage gives us a similar advantage (in terms of data/users) for covering towns/neighborhoods.