Online College Reviews: Finding College Ranking Resources

Online college review sites manage lists that detail the top schools based on a variety of criteria. Rankings provide basic information about colleges and universities - such as average SAT/ACT scores, tuition costs and popular majors - that can help students compare facts between colleges and decide which schools to attend.

Prospective students who are interested in college rankings and reviews can look to resources like U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review.

The Best Reviews and Ranking Resources

Students can find online college ranking and review resources that cover a wide variety of schools nationwide through U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Individuals may also find specialized rankings through magazines and organizations that focus on a particular field. For example, Forbes Magazine provides annual rankings of the top business schools that offer an MBA.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report publishes several lists each year that rank over 1,800 colleges and universities on factors such as size, tuition and demographics, based on data collected from the schools themselves through surveys and other research. To be included in the U.S. News rankings, a college or university must have a total student enrollment of at least 200 students and hold regional accreditation. These online college reviews provide potential students with information on several factors to consider when selecting a school, and they condense information to allow applicants to compare educational institutions.

Potential students can search for schools by name or tuition range to view ranking data. Each year, the organization publishes general Best National Universities and Best Liberal Arts Colleges lists, as well as some more specific lists, including:

  • A+ Schools for B Students
  • Best Undergrad Business Schools
  • Best Value Schools
  • Top Public Schools

The basic U.S. News & World Report lists are available online for free, and access to a premium list that contains more detailed information is available for a fee.

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review website is an online resource that provides a list of the Best 381 Colleges, plus search features and 62 different ranking categories to help potential college students choose the right school for them. The site's top 20 lists include topics such as biggest party schools and most beautiful campuses. Full access to the website and its rankings requires a user account.

For students only interested in colleges located in certain parts of the country, this online college review site also provides rankings of the best regional colleges in the Midwest, Northeast, West and Southeast. Rankings include an annual Best Value Colleges list that assesses educational outcomes and costs. The Princeton Review college rankings are created by scoring colleges and universities in general categories, such as:

  • Academics
  • Quality of life
  • Demographics
  • Social life
  • Politics
  • Parties
  • School type
  • Extracurricular activities

Through online publications provided by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, aspiring students can find reviews and general ranking lists for colleges and universities. Specialized rankings for things like academics and school atmosphere are also available.

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