Comparing The Major College Ranking Systems: How Methodology Matters

The major college ranking systems have all published their much-anticipated lists of the nation’s best colleges for this year. These lists continue to influence students, families, college administrators and the general public, even during a pandemic that has arguably rendered many of the ranking dimensions much less relevant than in the past.

How do the methodologies employed by the various systems compare? And how similar are their rankings? Here’s a brief primer on four of the most influential approaches.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges rankings ranks more than 1,400 colleges and universities granting baccalaureate degrees. Now in its 36th year, it’s the dean of all ranking systems.

U.S. News revises its methodology over time, and this year it

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