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Rate Colleges: Find Ratings and Reviews for U.S. Colleges

Many U.S. colleges are well-known for their sports, overall academics or individual academic programs. Students can find updated annual ratings and reviews of U.S. colleges focusing on academics and student life from U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine.

For students who are looking for ratings and reviews of colleges in the United States, there are several resources available. Colleges are ranked in many categories, including academic programs and social aspects.

Publications for U.S. College Ratings and Reviews

There are three well-known publications that provide reliable college rankings: U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine. U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges for their general quality, as well as for specific attributes, like particularly good engineering programs or excellent professors. They also provide separate undergraduate and graduate rankings. The Princeton Review provides a list of the best overall colleges, graduate schools within different categories, and schools that are ranked particularly highly for particular attributes. Forbes Magazine publishes a combined list of all of the best schools.

U.S. News & World Report

Each year, U.S. News & World Report releases school rankings in several categories. These categories include national universities, liberal arts colleges, master's universities, baccalaureate colleges, historically black colleges and universities, business programs and engineering programs. Specialized lists include up-and-coming colleges, best undergrad teaching and unranked specialty schools. Ratings are based on an institution's reporting of 15 indicators of quality. Some of these include retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rates and alumni giving.

According to U.S. News and World Report, these were the top national universities in the country in 2017:

  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Chicago/Yale University (tie)
  • Columbia University/Stanford University (tie)

U.S. News & World Report ranked these five schools as 2017's top liberal arts colleges in the nation:

  • Williams College
  • Amherst College
  • Wellesley College
  • Middlebury College/Swarthmore College (tie)

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review rates colleges in over 40 categories that include both academic and social aspects of the college experience. Student life ratings include colleges where students do the most studying, best college towns, most politically active schools and happiest students. The company also publishes its Best Colleges list every year based on student surveys; in 2017, 381 schools were included. It is important to note that The Princeton Review no longer ranks schools directly, and instead features several universities at the beginning of their list.

The school also uses student surveys and other data points to create 62 lists of schools that stand out in certain categories. For instance, The Princeton Review's Colleges That Pay You Back list combines information about financial aid and tuition payments with academic standards to rate colleges by bang for the buck. There are also warning lists for schools with low rankings in areas such as professor accessibility and campus food. Here are some other specialty categories in which The Princeton Review categorizes top schools:

  • Best Science Lab Facilities
  • Most Popular Study Abroad Programs
  • Best Classroom Experience
  • Most Beautiful Campus
  • Best College Newspaper
  • Best College Theater

Forbes Magazine

Each year, Forbes Magazine provides a list of the top 660 colleges and universities in the country, which the magazine's editors believe are truly worthwhile experiences for their students. They methodology uses key statistics to measure post-graduate success, student debt, student satisfaction, graduation rate and academic success; each of these factors is weighted for its importance. As of 2017, these are the top 10 schools in the country, according to Forbes Magazine.

  • Stanford University
  • Williams College
  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Yale University
  • Pomona College
  • Brown University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Swarthmore College

Students who are interested in college rankings can consult the lists offered by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine.

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