For high school seniors, September marks the beginning of college searches, counselor meetings and campus tours — and also, the release of a new round of U.S. News and World Report’s infamous college rankings.

The 2014 college rankings, which judged more than a thousand U.S. universities on a combination of factors including graduation rate, selectivity, and competitiveness of incoming classes — were released today. While the top 10 schools did not see much fluctuation from the 2013 college rankings — Yale, for instance, secured its spot in the top three just as it did last year — many other schools saw their rankings dip or rise due to changes in the ranking methodology.

In a move to “reduce the weight of input factors and increase the weight of output measures,” U.S. News made significant changes this year, including dropping the weight of incoming students’ class rank from 40 percent to 25 percent of the “student selectivity” indicator. The new rankings formula also places slightly more emphasis on students’ ACT and SAT scores. But overall, “student selectivity” as a measure of the college’s ranking was moved from 15 percent to 12.5 percent.

U.S. News also increased the importance of graduation and retention rates from 20 percent to 22.5 percent. According to U.S. News Director of Data Research Robert Morse in a Monday press conference, the outcome measures from schools now account for 30 percent of a college’s rank.

The organization collected data from roughly 1,800 colleges in total, though only 1,376 are included in the numerical rankings due to missing data.

In order, the top 10 National Universities of 2014 are:

1. Princeton University

2. Harvard University

3. Yale University

4. Columbia University

5. Stanford University (tied)

5. University of Chicago (tied)

7. Duke University (tied)

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tied)

7. University of Pennsylvania (tied)

10. California Institute of Technology

  • Not a Clue

    I vote we have rigorous national testing for specific subjects such as computer programming, mathematics, history, physics, and institute a national degree system so that it doesn’t matter how or where you learn it, as long as you learn it. Maybe then we can have degrees based on merit instead of money, and the best will actually be the best. You went to a University, how many of the kids you graduated with actually knew what they were talking about and could demonstrate what they learned after they passed a test, how many of them do you feel were truly excellent ? Many kids could learn just as much on the Internet watching classes on Youtube while experimenting in their basement and save themselves a lot of money, because the kids who are really strong can’t be stopped, they’ll learn on their own if they have to.

    • allthingsconsidered1

      Right, because getting into Yale has nothing to do with merit or hard work…

      • Not a Clue

        Like none of us knows anyone from Yale.

        The only thing I’ve found extraordinary about most Yale graduates is their belief in their own magnificence, but when you put them on the spot and ask them to demonstrate working knowledge, most fold like lawn chairs.

    • lakia

      If you mean actually giving out scholarships, based on MERIT, then I am with you, but right now scholarships are given out (from the top 20) based on LACK of income. It’s actually the middle income families who have the least amount of opportunity.

  • Goldie ’08

    Riiiiight where we want to be….