Ranking of the Top American Schools and Colleges

Every year, ''U.S. News and World Report'' compiles a list of the best schools and colleges in the nation, based on a number of different factors. The following are some of the top American schools and colleges on that list. Find out about the rankings, program offerings and distinctions of these schools.

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To be a first-rate school, an institution must provide quality academic opportunities, facilities, and often make significant contributions to research, among other factors. Here we'll look at a list of the top colleges in the U.S., including the high-ranked Princeton, Harvard, and Brown Universities.

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School Overviews

The U.S. is home to a wide variety of quality colleges and universities. The best schools are typically research-intensive institutions with a broad range of programs and degree offerings. Consistently, the top two universities in the country are Princeton University and Harvard University, according to U.S. News and World Report for 2017. Continue reading to learn more about these and other top-ranking American schools.

Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

School Highlight: Former United States president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Woodrow Wilson was the President of Princeton University from 1902 until 1910.

Ranked first place in 2017, Princeton University is a top American school, according to U.S. News and World Report. Princeton offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs through 36 academic departments, and the school has over 1,238 faculty members. This 4-year, private research institution has a total student enrollment of approximately 8,013 as of 2016.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

School Highlight: Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

In 2017, Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts ranked number two in U.S. News and World Report's national ranking of the best American colleges. Harvard University has roughly 2,400 faculty members and 11 academic units, including the Radcliffe Institute for advanced study. Approximately 22,000 students were enrolled at Harvard as of 2016; these students pursue associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, as well as certificate program options.

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

School Highlight: Students can pursue a five-year dual Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Brown University is a private school ranked #14 on the best national universities list made by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. Brown University performs a great deal of research, and its Warren Alpert Medical School is among the top 40 medical schools in the country. Graduate programs in history and English are also held in high esteem, ranking #18 and #15, respectively. Brown's undergraduate programs give the students control over their coursework and educational goals.

Top American Schools and Colleges

According to U.S. News and World Report, these schools are some of the nation's best for 2017:

  • Cornell University has programs in New York City, Geneva, NY, Qatar, Rome and Washington, D.C. in addition to the main campus in Ithaca, NY.
  • Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, has libraries that include music, international studies and medical libraries.
  • Northwestern University, of Evanston, IL, has a Global Engagement program allows students service learning opportunities in Bolivia, Haiti, India, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Uganda and Nicaragua.
  • Rice University in Houston, TX, has special programs that include Air Force and Naval Science programs and the Beyond Traditional Borders program, designed to address global health issues.
  • Stanford University, located in Stanford, CA, offers more than 40 interdisciplinary degree programs.
  • The University of California in Berkeley, CA, offers roughly 277 degree programs.
  • The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN, has research centers for civil and human rights, rare and neglected diseases, adult stem cells, sustainable energy and network science and applications.
  • Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, runs 120 research and teaching institutes and centers, including initiatives for the study of autism, Alzheimer's disease, and law.
  • Washington University in St. Louis, MO, has researchers who pursue over 3,000 research projects per year.

All of the schools featured here are ranked as some of the best this country has to offer. They typically have a plethora of diverse degree programs, make significant research efforts, and participate in various scholarly initiatives.

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