The Most Buzzed-About University? Wisconsin

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Wisconsin fans cheer on their football team—and their school's top brand.

REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson

The Badgers may have lost the Rose Bowl Saturday, but they can still boast that they’re the coolest school in America.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison beat out the University of Chicago and Harvard to be the top national university by internet brand equity, according to the Global Language Monitor’s 2011 TrendTopper MediaBuzz internet rankings.

What’s internet brand equity? It’s a measure of who’s talking about you online, based on Internet data, social media, blogs and the top 75,000 print and electronic media outlets. The resulting tool, the group claims, gauges the relative value of the various institutions and how they change over time.

(Read about a better way to rank colleges.)

The Global Language Monitor created their ranking system in order to eliminate what they described as inherent bias in the other published ranking systems. Rather than emphasizing the opinions of college deans, high school guidance counselors and the ratio of the endowment to the number of students, GLM believes their method reflects the opinion of the world at large.

These rankings provide an up-to-date perspective on which schools have the most popular brand. The Ivy League University of Pennsylvania (ranked fifth in 2010 by U.S. News) faired almost equivalently to Penn State (ranked 47th in 2010 by U.S. News), ranking 22nd and 24th respectively.

(Read the Q&A with the man behind U.S. News College Rankings.)

“One aftermath of the recent recession is that consumers understand that it is smart not to accept ‘retail pricing’ and that colleges are no different in this regard from any other institution,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor, in a statement.

(See the top ten college presidents.)

See the top 10 “branded” universities below.

1. University of Wisconsin—Madison

2. University of Chicago

3. Harvard University

4. Massachusettes Institute of Technology

5. Columbia University

6. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

7. Cornell University

8. University of California—Berkley

9. Yale University

10. University of Texas—Austin