U.S. News & World Report released its annual college rankings today, with Harvard at the top—the first time the University has ranked number one, by itself rather than tied with another school, in a dozen years, according to the Boston Globe.
As the Globe’s Peter Schworm notes, in grandiose language, Harvard has finished second to Princeton for the last two years, but “today, order has been restored to the universe, with Harvard University again master of all it surveys.”
(Princeton and Yale rank second and third this year, respectively.)
While there may be rejoicing in some corners, University spokesman Robert Mitchell gave the Globe a tempered response: ”It’s always nice to be recognized in this way. However, our admissions officers always tell prospective students that they should select a college that best suits their needs, not by its position in a ranking.”
U.S. News does not explain why it moves individual schools up or down, but gives a general explanation of how it formulates the rankings. The criteria include financial resources, alumni giving, graduation rate, selectivity in admissions, and evaluation of the institution by administrators at peer institutions.
Harvard had the lowest acceptance rate of any school on the list, admitting just 9 percent of applicants. The rankings are based on the admissions cycle for the class that entered a year ago; as Harvard Magazine previously reported, competition for this fall’s freshman class was even stiffer—the College received 27,278 applications, up 19 percent over the previous year.