A Ranking of College Rankers

It seems nowadays that there are more college ranking systems than colleges themselves. FM has stepped in to sort out this mess and turn the table around. What we bring you is the first ever ranking of the college rankings. Use our ranking survey wisely. Keep our numerical gradations in mind, but also be sure to take into consideration the extracurricular benefits available in conjunction with the Princeton Review, for example, or the type of people whom you are likely to associate with if you decide on The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The Finalists:

1) US News and World Report

In operation since 1983, US News utilizes data collected from annual surveys as well as from school Web sites. An example of their popularity: after the release of new numbers, the US News Web site received 10 million page visits as compared to the average of 500,000 per month. Plus, they just ranked us first over Princeton.

2) The Princeton Review

Offers free advice and tools for college admission on its Web site and publishes test prep books to make cracking the top ten as easy as ten minutes a day of practice sessions. The Top Twenty Lists are a must-see: Schools for Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution, Reefer Madness Schools, etc.

3) Times Higher Education—Quacquarelli Symonds Rankings

Published by The Times of London and The Guardian, this system emphasizes peer review...though it has been criticized for its bias towards places where The Times and The Guardian are read. Understandable.

4) The Academic Ranking of World Universities

Produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Institute of Higher Education, this survey is heavily weighted towards the natural sciences with less emphasis on the humanities. Independent observers have claimed that the rankings have been impossible to duplicate accurately.

As a current Harvard student, you may not find this information particularly salient. But hell, everyone likes to know they’re number one.