US News & World Report released its 2021 college rankings. Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia took the top three spots, respectively, in the national university rankings. Among liberal arts colleges, Williams, Amherst, and Swarthmore took the top three spots, respectively.
In the “Best Value Schools” category, the top three colleges were Harvard, Princeton, and Gallaudet University, respectively. We can only presume there was little difference between Princeton and Harvard in the national university rankings since Harvard’s net cost is $682 less than Princeton’s net cost of $18,712. You can click the link above to view the full rankings on the US News website.
Princeton held the top spot for the tenth consecutive year. (You can review the 2020 US News college rankings here.)
This 36th rankings edition has a few key changes to its methodology. This year, graduation rates, debt at graduation, retention rates, and social mobility factors are receiving more weight. Ultimately, US News & World Report chose to assign less weight to standardized test scores, high school class standing, and alumni giving rates.
We say it every year and we’ll repeat it here for our new readers. Please, please, please, please take this — and all — rankings with a proverbial ‘grain of salt.’ You will be most successful where you are the happiest and most comfortable.
We know ‘follow your heart’ may sound cliche, but it is extremely relevant here. In addition to having a life-altering experience as opposed to just a mediocre experience, you will go much further if you graduate near the top of your class at a lower-ranked college than graduate near the bottom of your class at a top-tier college. Besides, you aren’t going to exactly exploit a vaunted alumni network if you’re remembered as the sourpuss who struggled to get passing grades.