The colleges highlighted below include two Ivy League institutions: Harvard University and Princeton University. Students will also find information about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rice University, and some of the other leading schools in the country.
Since schools often excel in different areas, it can be difficult to arrive at a single listing of the top-rated colleges in the U.S. However, U.S. News & World Report does compile an annual list of the best colleges, based on a number of known criteria, including costs, total enrollment, graduation rate and peer assessments.
Harvard University in Cambridge, MA
|School Highlight: Harvard awards over $160 million in financial aid to more than 60% of undergraduate students.|
Harvard University, a private institution offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, placed #2 on U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities for 2017. Harvard ranked #1 on the magazine's list of ''Best Value Schools'' for the same year. Based on the publication's graduate rankings, Harvard has the nation's #1 business school and #1 medical school for research. Other top-ranked graduate programs at the university include economics, physics and political science.
Princeton University in Elizabeth, NJ
|School Highlight: The school's library consists of more than 16 million holdings in 10 libraries.|
Princeton University ranked #2 on U.S. News & World Report's list of ''Best Value Schools'' for 2017. The university also received first-place rankings from the publication for its graduate programs in economics and history. Additionally, Princeton University's graduate programs in biological and computer sciences, physics and sociology all ranked among the top 10 in the country.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA
|School Highlight: The school has a student-faculty ratio of 3:1.|
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private school that U.S. News & World Report ranked #7 among top national universities in 2017. Through its one college and five schools, students can pursue a number of technology programs that have also received high rankings from U.S. News & World Report, including computer engineering and management information systems. MIT has degree programs in science that include earth sciences, chemistry and physics. Students can also pursue undergraduate programs in engineering, rated number one in the country.
Rice University in Houston, TX
|School Highlight: Rice tied for fifteenth place on U.S. News & World Report's list of the top national universities.|
Rice University is a private institution made up of eight schools—all highly valued—two of the graduate schools being the George R. Brown School of Engineering and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, both in the top 40 of their kind. Rice University specializes in undergraduate academics and research. Graduates have gone on to make great scientific innovations such as the invention of the artificial heart, and the discovery of buckyball molecules, which paved the way for nanotechnology study. Rice is also the first school to have a program focused solely on space science.
Top Colleges and Universities with Top Rankings
These colleges are also currently amongst the best in the nation:
- Stanford University in Stanford, CA is tied at #5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in Chapel Hill, NC, was the first public university in the United States.
- The University of Pennsylvania of Philadelphia, PA ranked first on U.S. News & World Report's list of best undergraduate business programs for 2017.
- Yale University in New Haven, CT ranked first on U.S. News & World Report's list of top law schools for 2017.
As we've just seen, it takes a great deal to make the list of top-tier schools in the country. The ones listed above must meet strict criteria to prove their quality and significance.