US News and World Report has released its 2020 college rankings. For the ninth consecutive year, Princeton University held the top spot. Rounding out the top five were Harvard (second) and Columbia, MIT and Yale which all tied for third place.
If the Princeton streak of nine consecutive years impresses you, then you will likely be even more impressed to learn that Williams College was ranked the top liberal arts college for the seventeenth consecutive year. Additionally, UCLA was the sole top-ranked public university for the second consecutive year after sharing the top spot with Berkeley in 2018.
In one regard, we will reluctantly admit that the rankings are ‘fun.’ They give us some additional material to blog. They generate headlines and get people’s attention focused on selective admissions. However, we still firmly believe that they are a large net negative for applicants. Therefore, we most strongly encourage all applicants to take the rankings (US News and others as well) with the proverbial ‘grain of salt.’ The rankings change every year (perhaps Princeton and Williams notwithstanding) and if you choose a school that is ranked slightly above another, their rankings could easily reverse before you complete your college degree.
Additionally, we find it absurd that could be any objective way to rank these various schools and definitively say one is slightly better than another. The fact we end up with multiple ties such as the three-way tie for third place in the top national universities only underlines the absurdity of the attempted rankings. So, bear in mind that the selection criteria that are most important to you may not be the same for others. Including to but not limited to those who compile the various rankings.
Finally, we hope you appreciate the importance of campus visits. withhold your final determinations until after you have completed your campus visits. If you are unable to visit all of the schools you target with applications, please make every attempt to conduct visits after you are admitted and before your decision deadline. Time and time again our clients confirm that the visit allows them to make far clearer decisions than they could have made based only off of glossy brochures and web browsing.