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On Monday US News and World Report released rankings of top colleges and universities. The ranks are supposed to help student and their parents as they prepare to apply for college in autumn.

This is the 35th edition of the best college rankings. It is the first time schools from other US territories, Guam and Puerto Rico have been included. Every year the news outlets published what is regarded as the gold standard for college rankings in the US.

1,400 colleges and universities ranked in 2019

This year the news outlet considered 1,400 universities and colleges. The focus was on academic quality as well as other measures such as retention rates, social mobility, and graduation rates. For the first time, graduate rates for first-generation students was a consideration in the overall methodology of the rankings. Another area included was Social mobility for the first time. The new ranking also evaluates the schools that best serve minority students as well as analyze the enrolment and graduation of low-income students with Pell Grants.

The usual suspects made the lists with Ivy Leagues and other top private schools also sitting at the top. Other elite public schools and other liberal arts colleges complement the top colleges. Princeton University for the ninth straight year became top among national universities while William College topped the national liberal arts schools for the 17th straight year. The full list is available here.

Rankings not relevant according to some

However, others think the rankings are not relevant. Forbes, for instance, published an article pointing out at what is wrong with the list. The piece argues that forging of the data is easier and that the indicator used as a gauge for the worth of a school is irrelevant. Forbes has also been publishing its college ranking each year.

Besides Forbes, former George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in 2012 dismissed the college rankings. He indicated that they don’t express the quality, special character, and comprehensiveness of over 4,000 universities and colleges in the US. Trachtenberg indicated that the ranking creates an obsession with students joining select schools.