U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 edition of the Best Colleges yesterday, which includes rankings and data of nearly 1,800 schools nationwide. Breaking a tie with Harvard University, Princeton University claimed possession of the No. 1 spot in the Best National Universities category. Williams College tops the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges category for a second time.
This year, U.S. News made changes to the Best Colleges ranking methodology to reflect the current state of college admissions and place more emphasis on student outcomes. In addition, graduation rate performance, which measures the difference between a school’s predicted and actual graduation rates, was extended to all of the Best Colleges ranking categories; for the first time, it applied to Regional Universities and Regional Colleges. U.S. News also increased the weight of graduation and retention rates in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges categories. As a result, outcome-related measures accounted for 30 percent of the rankings and are now the most heavily weighted factors.
“U.S. News strives to provide students and their families with the most comprehensive data available,” said Bob Morse, director of data research, in a statement. “Measuring outcomes is critical to understanding how well a school retains and educates its students.”
Beyond the overall rankings, the Best Colleges 2014 edition includes updated rankings of the Best Undergraduate Business Programs and Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs for students seeking a specific career path, as well as rankings of the Best Value Schools for those concerned about the cost of college. U.S. News has also compiled a list of schools whose students graduated with the heaviest and lightest debt loads and updated Web-exclusive rankings and lists, including High School Counselor Rankings, Best Schools for Undergrad Teaching and Best Schools for Ethnic and Economic Diversity.
Other colleges in the top 10 for Best National Universities include Yale University, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania.
For the full list of rankings, visit http://www.usnews.com/colleges.