In a report released on Sept. 12, U.S. News & World Report named the University the best national university among 311 schools, for the seventh consecutive year. The report highlighted the University’s unique strengths as a major research university with the qualities of a liberal arts college.
Harvard University took second place in the rankings while the University of Chicago and Yale University tied for third. U.S. News also recognized Williams College, naming it the best liberal arts college for the 15th year in a row.
Daniel Day, Assistant Vice President for Communications, expressed gratitude for the University’s recognition by U.S. News.
“We appreciate the continued recognition in this survey and others, and we know that prospective students and their parents find them to be useful search tools,” Day said.
Day advised prospective students and their parents to gather as much information as possible when considering which colleges and universities to attend, noting that - while surveys are valuable tools - they cannot fully capture the distinctive nature of any institution. Day explained that the University encourages students and families to gather as much information as they can about the colleges and universities in which they are interested. He recommend students visit campuses as a way to find the best academic and social environment.
In the U.S. News & World Report, schools are evaluated on a series of data points from 15 measures of academic quality, creating a ranking formula which gives weight to different model indicators (represented in the infographic). Student outcomes, which include graduation and retention rates, are given a weight of 22.5 percent in the ranking formula. Undergraduate academic reputation is also given a weight of 22.5 percent, with both indicators accounting for 45 percent of the ranking formula.
Brian Kelly, chief content editor of U.S. News, emphasized the importance of student outcomes in a U.S. News statement.
"Before taking out student loans or writing a tuition check, families should research graduation and retention rates,” said Kelly. “These are important indicators of how well a school supports its students both academically and financially.”
The quantitative nature of U.S. News rankings often draw the attention of many incoming first-years.
“Every college can claim they are the best or make flamboyant musicals about themselves,” said Gregory Wall ‘21. “For me, anything that appeared to be a quantitative and fair assessment of a college, no matter how arbitrary, was essential to the decision.”
Like Wall, Nicholas Schmeller ‘21 also noted that the U.S. News rankings were impactful to his decision.
“I used the U.S. News rankings more when I picked the colleges I would apply to and then chose Princeton out of all my options as the school that fit best for me,” Schmeller explained. “The rankings were a good way of looking at the quality and prestige of colleges from a bird's eye view.”
When contacted, University President Christopher Eisgruber ‘83 declined to comment on the U.S. News ranking of the University .
The following are the top 5 national universities in the 2018 rankings:
1. Princeton University (N.J.)
2. Harvard University (Mass.)
3. University of Chicago (tie)
3. Yale University (Conn.) (tie)
5. Columbia University (N.Y.) (tie)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)
5. Stanford University (Calif.) (tie)