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U.S News and World Report announces the 2021 ranking of universities

Posted on September 22, 2020
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U.S. News & World Report recently came out with its 2021 list of the best colleges in the U.S.

The ranking is based on data-driven information and is aimed to help prospective students choose their options for higher education.

According to US news, the methodology used to derive the ranking is the outcome of years of research and the approach is based on user feedback, discussions with schools and experts in higher education, reviews and interaction with deans and institutional researchers. The ranking factors include student-faculty ratio, tuition, campus life, financial aid, application requirements and post-graduate earning data.

This year’s ranking has adopted certain new factors to determine the ranking of universities which include student debt, social mobility, and test-blind admissions policies.

In view of the changes in the higher education sector due to COVID-19, this year’s ranking re-introduced test-blind universities or universities that do not use of SAT or ACT scores in their admissions process were included in the rankings.

The universities were grouped under ten categories based on their academic mission.

In the 2021 ranking, Princeton University ranked at number 1 followed by Harvard University and Columbia University. MIT and Yale University tied for fourth which together make up the top five universities in the rankings.

Here are the rankings under certain important categories:

National Universities – Top 3
1. Princeton University (NJ)
2. Harvard University (MA)
3. Columbia University (NY)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 3
1. Williams College (MA)
2. Amherst College (MA)
3. Swarthmore College (PA)

Top Public Schools

National Universities – Top 3
1. University of California—Los Angeles
2. University of California—Berkeley
3. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 3
1. United States Naval Academy (MD)
2. United States Military Academy (NY)
3. United States Air Force Academy (CO)

Top Performers on Social Mobility

National Universities – Top 3
1. University of California—Riverside
2. University of California—Irvine
3. Rutgers University—Newark (NJ)

National Liberal Arts Colleges – Top 3
1. College of Idaho
2. Lake Forest College (IL)
3. Thomas Aquinas College (CA)

 Do university rankings have any value?

Critics of university rankings might argue that the rankings do not reflect the intrinsic value of the universities and colleges. At the same time, it cannot be denied that the rankings play an important role in these times of globalized higher education. Students today will have to choose from a myriad of universities based on what suits their needs. The rankings make it easier for them to choose because it tells them briefly which universities can best meet their requirements.

Though university rankings cannot be the sole deciding factor in choosing a university, it is no doubt an important aspect when making a choice.

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