Us News College Rankings

August 17, 2010 by USA Post 

Us News College Rankings, Harvard University took sole possession of first place in the U.S. 2011 News & World Report rankings of major U.S. institutions academic research. Princeton University, who tied with Harvard for the last year of lead, fell to second place.

Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, was named the college of liberal arts. Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Princeton, in Princeton, New Jersey, have held the top two spots since 2001 rankings. Yale University, New Haven, Conn., placed third and Columbia University in New York, climbed to fourth place, according to the magazine, which announced the list today.

U.S. News ratings, launched in 1983, based on criteria such as test scores, selectivity and peer evaluations. This year, the methodology was adjusted to add the evaluations of high school counselors and give more weight to graduation and retention rates, said Robert Morse, director of data research. As a result, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, dropped to seventh place after being tied for fourth last year, said Morse. The change in the way graduation rates have hurt the classification of Cal Tech and MIT, where more students struggle to graduate, said Morse.

“They’re very hard academically,” said Morse. “The curriculum in these schools is very rigorous.”

Cal Tech graduated 89 percent of its students in 2009, while MIT had a 91 percent rate of graduation. Columbia, which ranked eighth a year ago, graduated 98 percent of their students.

Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, tied for fifth.

Liberal Arts

Among liberal arts colleges, which are smaller than the research universities and do not typically offer graduate degrees, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, was second, followed by Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, third. Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, tied for fourth. These are the five schools last year too.

The presidents of Amherst, Swarthmore and Williams said in 2007 they would not use the ratings to promote their schools and only provide the magazine with information given by other college guides.

“The rankings encourage students to think about the wrong things when they are involved in the process of college search,” said Adam Falk, the president of Williams, in an email yesterday. “Students should find the university which is the best option for them – for their interests, their personalities and academic interests – rather than pursuing the false prestige associated with a higher ranking sense.”

Morse said that the classification was not intended to be the only students to use to make decisions.

“U.S. News tries to emphasize that the classification should only be used as a tool,” said Morse. “This is to provide information to help make an informed decision.”

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