New Players, New Approaches To Ranking Colleges

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, September 13, 2012

U.S. News & World Report may still be the 800-pound gorilla of college rankings. But with a formula that rarely changes, the latest edition — out Wednesday — looks pretty much the same as a decade ago, with very few exceptions.

More interesting are a pair of newer players to the rankings game. Both have shortcomings, but both produce a top-colleges list that looks somewhat different from the magazine's (where Princeton and Harvard share the top spot, just like last year). And neither relies on information provided by the colleges themselves; more and more schools have been caught fudging the numbers they give to U.S. News.

More broadly, the new players offer data intriguing even to those who don't buy the idea that colleges can be ranked like their football teams.

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