I just discovered this ranking of colleges by The Wall Street Journal is four years old, but interesting nonetheless. The WSJ looked at the percentage of graduates from each college who were admitted to "elite" professional schools in the fields of business, law, and medicine. This, of course, will penalize schools which have unusually large numbers of its undergraduates that go on for PhD work, rather than professional school (one suspects this is true for Reed College, which comes in 50th, or the University of Chicago, which comes in 14th, or Cal Tech, which comes in 28th). Still, this ranking conveys more useful information than U.S. News, and its results jibe with anecdotal impressions. It also provides a useful way of putting liberal arts colleges and research universities on the same metric.
According to WSJ, the top ten "feeder schools" for elite professional schools are (1) Harvard University; (2) Yale University; (3) Princeton University, (4) Stanford University, (5) Williams College, (6) Duke University, (7) Dartmouth College, (8) MIT, (9) Amherst College, and (10) Swarthmore College. Note that Swarthmore's feeder score was just 7.44%, putting it just barely ahead of Columbia University at 11th with a feeder core of 7.14%.
The choice of "elite" professional schools is, however, a bit idiosyncratic. For medical schools, they looked at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the University of Califiornia at San Francisco, and Yale--but not at Penn or Washington University in St. Louis or Stanford! For business schools, they looked at Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Penn, and the University of Chicago--but not Northwestern or Stanford! And for law schools, they looked at Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, the University of Chicago, and Yale--but not NYU or Stanford! (This is beginning to look like an anti-Stanford bias!) Would the results have been much different? One suspects that Stanford (feeder score of 10.70%) would have fared as well as Yale (17.96%) and Princeton (15.78%) if the top five business, law, and medical schools there had been included.