The Top Ten Universities, Says U.S. News and World Report

So U.S. News and World Report comes up with an annual list of the top schools in the United States. And the top 20 list is just full of schools you’d never expect to find there–NOT! Here’s the 2008 list of top 10 schools as according to U.S. News and World Report:

  1. Princeton University
  2. Harvard University
  3. Yale University
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Pennsylvania
  6. California Institute of Technology
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Duke University
  9. Columbia University
  10. University of Chicago

So if I sound a little sarcastic, it’s not because I don’t put any stock whatsoever in school rankings. When you’re choosing a college, it’s important to get as much information as you can about the quality of a school–and rankings are a solid piece of data. And I’d be naive if I didn’t believe that the reputation of the school a student attends isn’t helpful, at least to some degree.
But the thing is, rankings aren’t everything–especially when you’re talking about an undergraduate education. Too many students roll their eyes when their guidance counselors proclaim, “It’s not about the name of the school. It’s about finding a school that fits you personally.”
Students, you’ve got to look past the name and spend some time figuring out what you really want from a college education. Personal attention? A particular major? An opportunity to do research with professors? An urban college campus? A political college campus? Figure out what you want, and then find colleges that fit your needs. If some of them are big name schools, terrific–but maybe they won’t be. And that’s okay.
Curious about the top high schools in America? See this report from Newsweek.