New College Rankings from U.S. News and Forbes

U.S. News Best Colleges 2011 and Forbes America’s Best Colleges 2010 have dominated the college admissions headlines recently.

Not surprisingly, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale grabbed the U.S. New top three spots in the national university rankings followed by Columbia, Stanford, Penn, Caltech and MIT.  Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury and Wellesley took top honors for liberal arts schools.   U.S. News also rated the colleges and universities by value and numerous other categories.

Pundits argue that a major flaw with the  U.S. News & World Report ranking is that it rewards schools with strong reputations (popularity contest) that enroll highly qualified (often affluent) students, regardless of how much those students actually learn while on campus.

Forbes’ annual ranking of America’s Best Colleges for 2010 awarded top honors to Williams College, Princeton, Amherst College, United States Military Academy, MIT and Stanford University.  Forbes’ methodology puts weight on numerous factors such as success following graduation, student debt levels, four-year graduate rates and student enjoyment.

Behind each ranking is the fine print.  Review the methodology and the data sets used to compile each of the rankings before deciding how to interpret and utilize them.

Links to the Big Two:

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