The 2019 College Rankings Are Here. See Where Your Favorite School Landed
Each year, prospective college students pore over the U.S. News & World Report's rankings of best colleges, trying to figure out which universities to apply to and just what their chances of getting a coveted acceptance letter might be.
The results of the 2019 report are now in. Below are the top 10 national universities in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s not all Ivy League, but they are all private schools. Most also made the top 10 list of the hardest schools to get into last year.
1. Princeton University
2. Harvard University
3. Columbia University (tie)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)
3. University of Chicago (tie)
3. Yale University (tie)
7. Stanford University
8. Duke University
9. University of Pennsylvania
10. Johns Hopkins University (tie)
10. Northwestern University (tie)
Princeton came in at the top spot for the eighth year in a row. Compared to 2018's list, Columbia University and MIT moved up the list, from being tied for No. 5 to tying the University of Chicago and Yale for No. 3. Stanford was bumped down to No. 7. Duke moved one up the list to No. 8, bumping Penn from No. 8. to No. 9., while Johns Hopkins and Northwestern edged out Cal Tech to tie for 10th place.
These rankings are based on a battery of factors analyzed by U.S. News & World Report including graduation rates, student retention, class sizes and student-to-faculty ratios, financial aid, SAT scores and high school class standing of accepted students, reputation among academic peers and college counselors, and the number of alumni who donate to the school after they graduate.
A top spot on the list is a huge win for a university, but that doesn’t mean the rankings are the best way to choose a college. There’s plenty of information about a university that you can’t glean from simple graduation rates or alumni donation rates.
Nor are the results without their controversy. Some critics argue that the rankings incentivize schools with wealthier student bodies—aside from the fact that schools can use the money from high tuition to keep class sizes low and take other measures to keep their spot in the rankings, affluent students are less likely to drop out before graduation than students who are having trouble making ends meet. Wealthier students are more likely to have money to donate after they graduate, too (especially if they’re a legacy).
The annual report is such a powerhouse in the academic world that universities sometimes allocate funding and set goals based on making the top of the list, including accepting fewer students who placed in the lower tiers of their high school classes and increasing tuition to pay higher faculty salaries. Moving up the rankings is important enough that it often results in raises and bonuses for university presidents.
In part because of those reasons, private schools always dominate the top 10 list for national universities, but the annual report also includes a separate ranking of public schools. Below are the top public universities:
1. University of California—Los Angeles
2. University of California—Berkeley
3. University of Virginia
4. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
5. University of California—Santa Barbara (tie)
5. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (tie)
7. University of California—Irvine
8. Georgia Institute of Technology (tie)
8. University of Florida (tie)
10. College of William and Mary (tie)
10. University of California—Davis (tie)
Explore the full rankings over on the U.S. News & World Report site.