Holding down first place, and quite solidly, it is
probably not a big surprise seeing Harvard
University firmly in the top spot. while many factors considered together go
into the rankings, clearly in this case one of the biggest is tradition.
2. Also of little or no surprise to most, Yale University second on the list. The surprise
is that they have not yet fallen out of second after awarding a degree to someone who went
on to become the utterly evil president w. bush. Even so, again, tradition.
3. Rounding out the top three is Columbia University, possibly somewhat easier
for more people to relate to than the first two. Also with big tradition as the first two,
and also with the highest quality research, and medical and law schools as well.
4. Some people do not actually believe or consider
tradition and say it's not Ivy, yet Brown
University is that and makes fourth. It's considered one of the best for very
5. As a young person exploring college options, I
remember being amazed that there are more colleges and universities (at least 88, possibly
more) in Boston, than in some entire states! One of the very top, in fifth, is Tufts University, which like those above and many
below has a very competitive admissions process, and ranks so highly not only through
tradition and academic quality, but quality of student life generally as well, and that
surely is also deeply important.
6. Believe it or not, Princeton University is still in sixth, even
though like the # 2 rank there could be seen reasons to break with strong tradition and be
demoted (some may say this has already begun as they did not make third, fourth, or fifth,
and the people who say that would be right). Tradition in this case is offset by the use
of prejudicial admissions and quotas based on group membership through at least the late
1980s. While maybe not 100% conclusively proven despite clues and possibly evidence, those
quotas were in fact used and are sufficient grounds alone for a lowering of ranking.
7. Coming in at seventh place is the University of Pennsylvania. Again, this is a
school with some doubters or disputers who question whether it really does merit any
special status. Yet like the earlier case with doubters (see # 4), there is more than one
very good reason for consistently ranking highly.
8. Another example of a school that many agree
deserves to be in the top rankings yet with some dissenters about that is Stanford University. While lacking the age of
many of the northeastern powerhouses in the first seven positions, this school in its own
right is worthy of being eighth in the rankings based on top level academic quality and
offering a pleasant environment for acquiring that education.
9. OK, now that the dimension of tradition drops a
level after the first eight spots (but is not eliminated completely), at ninth is MIT, which sits at this high spot primarily due to
difficulty of admission and being a recognized leader in technology education.
10. Rounding out the top ten is the second public
school to make it into the rankings, none other than UCLA.
One thing that would be difficult to argue with in justifying so high a ranking is the
factor or dimension of "financial cost paid in return for what quality of education
received?", and in the case of this very high quality public school with lower cost
than the famous big names above, it beats every one of them on that dimension, while at
the same time providing an overall college experience that ranks ahead of a large number
of other schools.
11. At eleventh is NYU, with high scores on many dimensions, including
quality of education, and variety of fields of study.
12. Except of course for the few who might argue, at
all or even about positioning, it probably is not an enormous surprise to see USC make it into the rankings, at # 12. A very wide
offering of subjects of study at a very high level of academic quality contributes the
13. Please know right away that it does not
matter how many people argue or protest the inclusion of University of Miami in these rankings at all, and
even as high as # 13. If it were 35 years ago, dissenters would be correct. Now, the
claims of the past are no longer true. With a concerted effort to make admissions tougher
and tougher every year, together with making academic standards and requirements for
already enrolled students tougher every year, it's been literally decades already since
moving from top ranks of the party schools to top ranks of schools overall. In this exact
specific case, educational quality and overall quality are the factors with the highest
14. Yes, their "sister school" already came
in at # 10, yet UCSD in its own right
places here at # 14 in the rankings. Another example of a public school rightfully
deserving of placing, contrary to the naysayers who load up their ranks with only private
schools. Too bad for them and their readers and believers, because they hardly ever
incorporate quality of student life as a factor (and it's a vitally important factor that
should not be overlooked or excluded), and because reputation of the school alone is
pretty much a valueless ranking dimension at this point.
15. Combining tradition, reputation, very tough
admissions standards, and very high level quality of education, Cornell University places solidly at # 15 in
the rankings. The social quality of life, once again, should not be overlooked, if you can
tolerate freezing your @ss off.
16. It's not only the famous top basketball program
at Duke University that places them at
# 16 in the rankings. In fact, that's really a much smaller part of it than the pleasant
conditions for students and truly high academic quality.
17. Once again, as noted at # 13 above, it will not
matter how many disagree with the inclusion of UCSF
at # 17 in the rankings. Yes, two sister schools of the University of California already
occupy positions higher in these rankings, yet that cannot take away the qualities of
having a very high ratio of cost to quality of education offered along with one of the
most diverse student populations.
18. While not one of the larger schools making it
into the rankings, at least as measured by size of the student population, Emory University at # 18 combines very high
scores on quality of education and also student life to be a worthy placer here.
19. Despite not being Ivy, Clarke University is at # 19. Positive social
environment and high educational quality make this a worthy placer.
20. As the only
school whose name ends in "State University" to make it into the rankings, at #
20 is Pennsylvania State University,
which sits at this spot based on providing very high academic quality for a much lower
cost than most other schools in the top 25, as well as pleasant conditions for student
21. Even though the campus at College Park may be the
most well known at the University of Maryland,
this is a state school in its entirety that places firmly at # 21 in the rankings. High
scores on student life and ratio of cost to quality of education received are the factors
most heavily contributing.
22. The star of the Pacific northwest, University of Washington makes # 22 in the
rankings based on quality of student life, and quality of education offered compared to
23. In addition to school spirit, Vanderbilt University places # 23 in the
rankings because of a very high score on community integration with the school (as opposed
to colleges and universities that are quite insular and almost separate even from their
surrounding neighborhoods), as well as high academic quality.
24. At second-to-last of the top colleges is the University of Texas, whose campus at Austin with
over 100,000 students is the largest in the nation. Believe it or not, there are even some
people who are not born in the Lone Star State that decide to attend.
25. Making the final spot on the list is the University of Massachusetts: Amherst. This public
school offers high quality education that rivals many similarly-sized private schools, for
far lower cost.
If your school did not make the top
25 colleges, maybe next year.