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2013-14 College Rankings

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 09:23 AM

2014 College RankingsUS News Releases its 2014 Best Colleges Rankings Just in Time for Application Season

US News & World Report released its much-anticipated 2014 Best Colleges Rankings today, and, unlike in this year's Forbes rankings, there were few surprises. Princeton and Harvard took the number one and two spots this year, switching places from 2013's rankings. The top 10 National Universities remained unchanged, with a few schools flip flopping spots.

Below are this year's Best Colleges Rankings compared to last year's spots.

NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES

2013

2014

1. Harvard

1. Princeton

2. Princeton

2. Harvard

3. Yale

3. Yale

4. Columbia

4. Columbia

4. UChicago

5. Stanford

6.MIT

5. UChicago

6. Stanford

7. Duke

8. Duke

7. MIT

8. UPenn

7. UPenn

10. California Institute of Technology

10. California Institute of Technology

10. Dartmouth

10. Dartmouth

12. Northwestern

12. Johns Hopkins

13. Johns Hopkins

12. Northwestern

14. Washington University in St. Louis

14. Brown

15. Brown

14. Washington University in St. Louis

 

LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES

2013

2014

1. Williams

1. Williams

2. Amherst

2. Amherst

3. Swarthmore

3. Swarthmore

4. Middlebury

4. Bowdoin

4. Pomona

4. Middlebury

6. Bowdoin

4. Pomona

6. Wellesley

7. Carleton

8. Carleton

7. Wellesley

9. Haverford

9. Claremont McKenna

10. Claremont McKenna

9. Davidson

10. Vassar

9. Haverford

12. Davidson

12. U.S. Naval Academy

12. Harvey Mudd

13. Vassar

14. U.S. Naval Academy

14. Hamilton

14. Washington and Lee

14. Washington and Lee

The question that always arises when new rankings are released is how is this measured? Methodologies can vary year-to-year, so it's important to know what has changed from the year before, as this can significantly impact where a school falls on the list.

Much of the data used to calculate the US News rankings is self-reported. This is why there are sometimes several cases each year of schools admitting to falsely reporting things like GPAs, SAT and ACT scores, etc. Last year, Tulane, Bucknell, Claremont McKenna, Emory, and George Washington University were the biggest culprits of misreported data.

So what changed in US News's methodology this year? A couple of things.

  • The weight of class rank was reduced from 6% to 3.125%.

  • High school class standing dropped from 40% to 25%

  • More weight was given to ACT and SAT scores in the student selectivity indicator, increasing from 50% to 65%. 

  • Weight of student selectivity overall has declined from 15% to 12.5%.

  • Graduation and retention rates weight was increased from 20% to 22.5% for National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges.

It was noted in this year's explanation of the methodology that these changes could impact a school's ranking, causing it to rise or fall a few spots. However, there were few significant spot changes this year.

Forbes rankings, however, did have a few surprises this year.

2012

2013

1. Princeton

1. Stanford

2. Williams

2. Pomona

3. Stanford

3. Princeton

4. UChicago

4. Yale

5. Yale

5. Columbia

6. Harvard

6. Swarthmore

7. U.S. Military Academy

7. U.S. Military Academy

8. Columbia

8. Harvard

9. Pomona

9. Williams

10. Swarthmore

10. MIT

11. MIT

11. U Penn

12. Notre Dame

12. Brown

13. Amherst

13. Amherst

14. Bowdoin

14. UChicago

15. Washington and Lee

15. Duke 

Most notably, Stanford and Pomona took the top two spots, with Princeton falling to #3 and Harvard to #8. The top two schools on US News's list are barely in the top five on Forbes rankings.

This is why, at IvyWise, we like to caution students and parents on how much emphasis they put on rankings in the college search process. While the lists of Princeton Review Best 378 Colleges, US News's rankings, and Forbes Top Colleges are great places to start, you shouldn't let overall rankings be a major factor in your college decision. Instead, break down what's measured in these rankings, like graduation rates, student satisfaction, and post-grad success, to determine if a school is right for you.

What do you think of this year's college rankings? Tell us in the comments below!

IvyWise

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