2015 Best Colleges Rankings -U.S. News & World Report

September 9, 2014


September 5, 2014

Think College Rankings Are Useless? Use Your Imagination

Andy Thomason
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Year after year, college rankings maintain their hard-fought relevance. The leader of the pack, as every admissions officer knows, is U.S. News & World Report.

Colleges have long maneuvered to improve their standings on the hallowed list, changing various policies (and sometimes cheating) to jibe with the magazine’s methodology. U.S. News’s stranglehold on colleges needs to end, writes Vox’s Libby Nelson in a post published Friday, September 5. While college rankings are usually chided for being arbitrary or useless, she writes, the real crime is how colleges are enslaved by them, in ways that hurt students.

By indicting the U.S. News list, Ms. Nelson is indicting the whole of college rankings. But what critics like her might forget is the indisputable fact that, while college rankings are, like any metric, of limited use, they can serve students—anyone, for that matter—in very concrete ways. Here are a few situations where a college ranking might come in handy, with some thoughts on which version would serve you best:

Desert-Island Survival
If you were stranded on a desert island, a college ranking might save your life. For instance, as kindling in a fire. To accomplish this, you’re going to want one of the thicker volumes, with pages that catch fire easily. I’d recommend The Princeton Review’s 880-page book.

If your island has plenty of kindling, use a ranking of America’s colleges to preserve your sanity. The Princeton Review edition might best remind you of life back home, as it has a ranking for every human sensation. (The list of “stone-cold-sober schools” will take on a new and depressing meaning as you struggle to fall asleep with a rock as your pillow.) If you want something to help you fall asleep, go for the Washington Monthly’s college guide and its wide-ranging series of analytical essays.

Armageddon, but You’ve Been Spared
The unthinkable has come to pass. The world as we know it has ended, and you’re the leader of a small band of survivors charged with rebooting civilization. The only piece of literature in your possession is a college ranking. You’ll want the one with the most statistics. I recommend the (forthcoming) U.S. News guide. The veracity of the numbers and statistics will be of no consequence to you. Hopefully, the percentage signs and descriptions of the methodology will jog your memory of trigonometry as you try to reinvent the internal-combustion engine.

On the dusty road of postapocalyptic America, you might encounter hostile wildlife or, even worse, violent human beings. An exhaustive ranking of America’s colleges would not be useless in a fight. A ranking made of high-quality paper might deal a bloodthirsty cannibal the fatal blow. Go for a ranking with the sharpest pages. I’d recommend the Forbes rankings. It doesn’t skimp on paper quality.

And if you or, more likely, your followers succeed in restoring civilization to its former glory, one of the rankings could help serve as a model for higher learning in your new utopia. Or you could just wing it. Either way would probably be fine.

Alien Abduction
You’ve been beamed up to a hostile alien mothership. All you have to represent the human race to a group of would-be conquerors is a college ranking. Don’t panic! Use any of the aforementioned rankings to show them we have the capacity for language. This will probably seem elementary to them, so pull up the forthcoming rankings from The New York Times’s Upshot on your phone to show them we’ve mastered digital communication in the form of the Internet (go ahead and pretend we invented the Internet a few millennia ago).

At this point, members of the alien species will be licking their lips at the thought of occupying our planet and enslaving the lot of us. This is your last shot. Use any of the aforementioned rankings to show how we humans have presided over a bloated, inefficient system of educating the best and brightest among us by loading them up with a fortune’s worth of debt for a degree of limited use. If the aliens have the capacity for pity, they’ll move on.

Apply to College
In the direst of scenarios, you could use one of the many college rankings to apply to college, keeping in mind that colleges play all sorts of tricks to climb the rankings, tricks that have no positive effect whatsoever on the quality of education you will receive. Godspeed.


2015 Best Colleges Rankings
U.S. News & World Report

Princeton University
Princeton University aerial view

National Universities Rankings
Schools in the National Universities category offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs. These colleges also are committed to producing groundbreaking research.

Top Ranked Public Universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

1 Princeton University
2 Harvard University
3 Yale University
4 Columbia University
4 Stanford University
4 University of Chicago
7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8 Duke University
8 University of Pennsylvania
10 California Institute of Technology

11 Dartmouth College
12 Johns Hopkins University
13 Northwestern University
14 Washington University in St. Louis
15 Cornell University
16 Brown University
16 University of Notre Dame
16 Vanderbilt University
19 Rice University
20 University of California–Berkeley

21 Emory University
21 Georgetown University
23 University of California–Los Angeles
23 University of Virginia

25 Carnegie Mellon University
25 University of Southern California
27 Tufts University
27 Wake Forest University
29 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
30 University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

31 Boston College
32 New York University
33 College of William and Mary
33 University of Rochester
35 Brandeis University
35 Georgia Institute of Technology
37 University of California–San Diego
38 Case Western Reserve University
38 University of California–Davis
40 Lehigh University
40 University of California–Santa Barbara

42 Boston University
42 Northeastern University
42 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
42 University of California–Irvine
42 University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
47 University of Wisconsin–Madison
48 Pennsylvania State University–University Park
48 University of Florida
48 University of Miami
48 University of Washington
48 Yeshiva University

53 University of Texas–Austin
54 George Washington University
54 Ohio State University–Columbus
54 Pepperdine University
54 Tulane University
58 Fordham University
58 Southern Methodist University
58 Syracuse University
58 University of Connecticut

62 Brigham Young University–Provo
62 Clemson University
62 Purdue University–West Lafayette
62 University of Georgia
62 University of Maryland–College Park
62 University of Pittsburgh
68 Texas A&M University–College Station
68 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

70 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick
71 American University
71 Baylor University
71 University of Iowa
71 University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
71 Virginia Tech
71 Clark University
76 Indiana University–Bloomington
76 Marquette University
76 Miami University–Oxford
76 Stevens Institute of Technology
76 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
76 Texas Christian University
76 University of Delaware
76 University of Massachusetts–Amherst

85 Michigan State University
85 University of California–Santa Cruz
85 University of Vermont
88 Binghamton University–SUNY
88 Colorado School of Mines
88 Stony Brook University–SUNY
88 University of Alabama
88 University of Colorado–Boulder
88 University of Denver
88 University of Tulsa

95 Drexel University
95 Florida State University
95 North Carolina State University–Raleigh
95 University of San Diego
99 St. Louis University
99 University of Missouri
99 University of Nebraska–Lincoln
99 University of New Hampshire

103 Auburn University
103 University at Buffalo–SUNY
103 University of Dayton
106 Iowa State University
106 Loyola University Chicago
106 University of Kansas
106 University of Oklahoma
106 University of Oregon
106 University of San Francisco
106 University of Tennessee

113 University of California–Riverside
113 University of South Carolina
113 University of St. Thomas
116 The Catholic University of America
116 Duquesne University
116 Illinois Institute of Technology
116 Michigan Technological University
116 University of the Pacific

121 Clarkson University
121 Colorado State University
121 DePaul University
121 Temple University
121 University of Arizona
126 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey–Newark
126 Seton Hall University
126 University at Albany–SUNY
129 Arizona State University–Tempe
129 Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge
129 Ohio University
129 University of Cincinnati
129 University of Kentucky
129 University of Utah

135 Hofstra University
135 New School
135 University of Arkansas
138 George Mason University
138 Missouri University of Science & Technology
138 Oregon State University
138 Washington State University

142 Illinois State University
142 Kansas State University
142 St. John Fisher College
145 Howard University
145 Oklahoma State University
145 St. John’s University
145 University of Texas–Dallas
149 Adelphi University
149 New Jersey Institute of Technology
149 San Diego State University
149 University of Alabama–Birmingham
149 University of Illinois–Chicago
149 University of Maryland–Baltimore County
149 University of Mississippi

156 Maryville University of St. Louis
156 Mississippi State University
156 Texas Tech University
156 University of Massachusetts–Lowell
156 Virginia Commonwealth University

161 Biola University
161 University of Louisville
161 University of Rhode Island
161 University of South Florida
161 University of Wyoming
166 University of Idaho
166 University of La Verne
168 Andrews University
168 University of Hawaii–Manoa
168 University of North Dakota
168 University of South Dakota
168 West Virginia University

173 Azusa Pacific University
173 Ball State University
173 Bowling Green State University
173 Florida Institute of Technology
173 Pace University
173 University of Central Florida
173 University of Maine
173 Western Michigan University

181 Edgewood College
181 Immaculata University
181 North Dakota State University
181 South Dakota State University
181 Spalding University
181 St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
181 University of Alabama–Huntsville
181 University of North Carolina–Greensboro
189 Southern Illinois University–Carbondale
189 University of Houston
189 University of Missouri–Kansas City
189 University of New Mexico
189 Widener University

194 Central Michigan University
194 Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
194 Kent State University
194 Northern Illinois University
194 University of Montana
194 University of Nevada–Reno
194 Utah State University

201 Louisiana Tech University
201 University of North Carolina–Charlotte

Rank Not Published
Ashland University
Barry University
Benedictine University
Bowie State University
Cardinal Stritch University
Clark Atlanta University
Cleveland State University
East Carolina University
East Tennessee State University
Florida A&M University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
Indiana State University
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Jackson State University
Lamar University
Lynn University
Middle Tennessee State University
Montana State University
Morgan State University
National-Louis University
New Mexico State University
North Carolina A&T State University
Northern Arizona University
Nova Southeastern University
Oakland University
Old Dominion University
Our Lady of the Lake University
Portland State University
Regent University
Sam Houston State University
South Carolina State University
Tennessee State University
Texas A&M University–Commerce
Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University–Kingsville
Texas Southern University
Texas Woman’s University
Trevecca Nazarene University
Trinity International University
University of Akron
University of Alaska–Fairbanks
University of Arkansas–Little Rock
University of Colorado–Denver
University of Louisiana–Lafayette
University of Massachusetts–Boston
University of Memphis
University of Missouri–St. Louis
University of Nebraska–Omaha
University of Nevada–Las Vegas
University of New Orleans
University of Northern Colorado
University of North Texas
University of South Alabama
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Texas–Arlington
University of Texas–El Paso
University of Texas–San Antonio
University of Toledo
University of West Florida
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Wayne State University
Wichita State University
Wright State University

Alliant International University
Argosy University
California Institute of Integral Studies
Capella University
Colorado Technical University
Idaho State University
Northcentral University
Trident University International
Union Institute and University
University of Phoenix
Walden University
Wilmington University

National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings
The National Liberal Arts Colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.

Top 50 Ranking

1 Williams College
2 Amherst College
3 Swarthmore College
4 Wellesley College
5 Bowdoin College
5 Pomona College
7 Middlebury College
8 Carleton College
8 Claremont McKenna College
8 Haverford College
11 Davidson College
11 Vassar College
13 United States Naval Academy
14 Washington and Lee University
15 Colby College
15 Hamilton College
15 Harvey Mudd College
15 Wesleyan University
19 Bates College
19 Grinnell College
19 Smith College
22 Colgate University
23 Oberlin College
24 Macalester College
24 Scripps College
24 United States Military Academy
27 Bryn Mawr College
27 Colorado College
27 United States Air Force Academy
30 Kenyon College
30 University of Richmond
32 Barnard College
32 Bucknell University
34 College of the Holy Cross
35 Lafayette College
35 Pitzer College
37 Dickinson College
37 Franklin and Marshall College
37 Skidmore College
37 Whitman College
41 Mount Holyoke College
41 Soka University of America
41 Union College
44 Occidental College
45 Bard College
45 Centre College
45 Connecticut College
45 Sewanee–University of the South
45 Trinity College
50 Gettysburg College
Regional Universities Rankings
Regional Universities offer a full range of undergrad programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs. These rankings are split into four regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

Top 25 Ranking
1 Villanova University
2 Providence College
3 College of New Jersey
3 Fairfield University
3 Loyola University Maryland
6 Bentley University
7 University of Scranton
8 University of Scranton
9 Ithaca College
9 Quinnipiac University
11 Bryant University
11 Marist College
11 St. Joseph’s University
14 Emerson College
14 SUNY–Geneseo
16 Simmons College
17 Gallaudet University
18 Manhattan College
19 Le Moyne College
19 Mount St. Mary’s University
19 Pratt Institute
19 Rowan University
23 Rider University
24 Rider University
25 CUNY–Baruch College
25 SUNY–New Paltz

Top 60 Ranking
1 Elon University
2 Rollins College
3 Samford University
4 The Citadel
5 Belmont University
6 James Madison University
6 Stetson University
8 Mercer University
9 Appalachian State University
10 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
11 Loyola University New Orleans
12 Union University
13 Bellarmine University
13 College of Charleston
13 University of Mary Washington
16 University of North Carolina–Wilmington
17 Christopher Newport University
18 Hampton University
18 Lipscomb University
18 Queens University of Charlotte
18 Spring Hill College
22 Harding University
23 Converse College
24 University of Tampa
25 Winthrop University
26 Christian Brothers University
26 Murray State University
28 Georgia College & State University
39 Mississippi College
30 Longwood University
31 Campbell University
31 Western Kentucky University
33 Lynchburg College
34 Gardner-Webb University
34 Radford University
34 Tennessee Technological University
37 Columbia College
37 Columbia International University
37 Marymount University
37 University of Montevallo
37 Western Carolina University
37 William Carey University
43 Brenau University
43 Freed-Hardeman University
43 Wingate University
46 Marshall University
47 Mississippi University for Women
47 Shenandoah University
49 Mary Baldwin College
49 Thomas More College
51 Palm Beach Atlantic University
51 University of North Florida
53 Arkansas State University
53 Lincoln Memorial University
53 Morehead State University
53 University of Tennessee–Martin
57 Coastal Carolina University
57 Lee University
57 University of Tennessee–Chattanooga
60 University of North Georgia
60 Winston-Salem State University

Top 20 Ranking
1 Creighton University
2 Butler University
3 Drake University
4 Bradley University
5 Valparaiso University
5 Xavier University
7 John Carroll University
8 Drury University
9 Truman State University
9 University of Evansville
11 Elmhurst College
12 Hamline University
13 St. Catherine University
14 Baldwin Wallace University
14 Milwaukee School of Engineering
14 North Central College
14 Rockhurst University
18 University of Northern Iowa
19 Dominican University
20 Bethel University
20 Kettering University
20 Otterbein University

Top 10 Ranking
1 Trinity University
2 Santa Clara University
3 Gonzaga University
3 Loyola Marymount University
5 Seattle University
6 Mills College
7 Chapman University
8 University of Portland
9 Whitworth University
10 California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo

Regional Colleges Rankings
These colleges focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. These rankings are split into four regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

Top 20 Ranking
1 United States Coast Guard Academy
2 Cooper Union
3 United States Merchant Marine Academy
4 Elizabethtown College
5 Messiah College
6 Lebanon Valley College
7 Massachusetts Maritime Academy
8 Maine Maritime Academy
9 Elmira College
9 Merrimack College
11 Seton Hill University
12 Bard College at Simon’s Rock
12 Wentworth Institute of Technology
14 Champlain College
14 Geneva College
16 Cedar Crest College
17 Wilson College
18 University of Maine–Farmington
19 Delaware Valley College
20 St. Francis College
20 SUNY Maritime College

Top 20 Ranking
1 Asbury University
1 High Point University
1 John Brown University
4 University of the Ozarks
5 Florida Southern College
6 Covenant College
6 Meredith College
8 Flagler College
9 Milligan College
9 Tuskegee University

11 Wheeling Jesuit University
12 West Virginia Wesleyan College
13 LaGrange College
14 Aquinas College
15 Carson-Newman University
16 Catawba College
16 Coker College
18 University of South Carolina–Aiken
19 University of Charleston
20 Lenoir-Rhyne University

Top 10 Ranking
1 Taylor University
2 Ohio Northern University
3 Augustana College
4 College of the Ozarks
5 Dordt College
6 Cedarville University
6 Franklin College
6 Marietta College
6 Northwestern College
10 University of Northwestern–St. Paul

Top 15 Ranking
1 Carroll College
2 Texas Lutheran University
3 California Maritime Academy
4 Oklahoma Baptist University
5 Master’s College and Seminary
6 Oklahoma Wesleyan University
7 Corban University
8 Menlo College
8 Oregon Institute of Technology
8 Warner Pacific College
11 Brigham Young University–Idaho
12 Vanguard University of Southern California
13 East Texas Baptist University
13 Rocky Mountain College
15 Howard Payne University

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Ranking
These historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were compared only with one another for these rankings. In order to be on the list, a school must be currently designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an HBCU. To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU also must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must be a school that is part of the 2015 Best Colleges rankings. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964.

1 Spelman College
2 Howard University
3 Morehouse College
4 Hampton University
5 Tuskegee University
6 Xavier University of Louisiana
7 Fisk University
8 Florida A&M University
9 Claflin University
10 North Carolina A&T State University
11 North Carolina Central University
12 Tougaloo College
13 Delaware State University
14 Dillard University
15 Morgan State University
15 Winston-Salem State University
17 Johnson C. Smith University
18 Clark Atlanta University
19 Jackson State University
20 Elizabeth City State University
21 Lincoln University (PA)
21 Tennessee State University
23 Alabama A&M University
23 University of Maryland–Eastern Shore
25 Bennett College
25 Bowie State University
27 Alcorn State University
28 Albany State University
28 Fayetteville State University
30 South Carolina State University
31 Bethune-Cookman University
32 Virginia State University
33 Oakwood University
34 Norfolk State University
35 Philander Smith College
35 University of Arkansas–Pine Bluff
37 Prairie View A&M University
38 Fort Valley State University
38 Kentucky State University
40 Stillman College
41 Alabama State University
41 Central State University
41 West Virginia State University
44 Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
45 Paine College
45 Southern University and A&M College
47 Savannah State University
48 Livingstone College
49 Texas Southern University
50 Bluefield State College
50 Florida Memorial University
50 Grambling State University
50 Mississippi Valley State University

The US News rankings are terrible for students. Why don’t colleges stop them?

Libby Nelson

The US News rankings are out. Princeton is No. 1, as it was last year, and the year before that; a few colleges shifted infinitesimally from rank to rank, and soon college presidents will begin to downplay the importance of the rankings at all.

And then, privately, they will start scheming about how they, too, can climb next year.

The usual critique of rankings is that they’re meaningless. But the problem is actually much worse. The rankings encourage a rogue’s gallery of unethical behavior. Well-intentioned changes to the methodology won’t fix them. The proliferating rankings from other publications won’t dethrone them.

But the good news is that the US News rankings are not, in fact, an unstoppable juggernaut. Colleges themselves could cripple the rankings — if they were brave enough to try.

The US News rankings lead colleges to lie
The US News rankings are influential. Studies have found they impact both where students apply and where they actually attend. That strong influence may explain why colleges aren’t always honest when they tell US News about themselves.

Since 2012, five colleges admitted to falsifying data they submitted to US News. These weren’t one-off typos or brief ethical lapses. They were systemic campaigns of misinformation that lasted for years, mostly located at colleges that are generally well-known but aren’t quite Ivy League caliber — the kind of place where rankings really matter.

See entire article at link:

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