Best Colleges 2017

By Tonka Dobreva 04.10.2017 interact

U.S. News & World Report released the 2017 edition of Best Colleges. The annual list helps students compare the academic quality of US schools, and this year, it included data on nearly 1,800 colleges, focusing on academic excellence and graduation and retention rates.

According to the report, the top 5 schools in the Best National Universities category are:

  1. Princeton 
  2. Harvard 
  3. University of Chicago 
  4. Yale
  5. Columbia 

In the Top Public Schools category, the top 5 are:

  • University of California—​Berkeley 
  • University of California—​Los Angeles 
  • University of Virginia 
  • University of Michigan—​Ann Arbor 
  • University of North Carolina—​Chapel Hill 

You can see the full report here.

Do ranking matter when choosing a college? 

A 2012 poll of 846 college-bound students shows college rankings do matter after all — at least to two-thirds of prospective college students:

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The report also showed that students with the highest SAT scores (1300 and above) tend to be more reliant on college rankings when selecting their prospective college. The majority of students turn to the US News and World report (58 percent) and Princeton Review (21 percent) to help them in their decision.

Respondents in the survey also said that they discussed rankings with family and friends (56 percent and 54 percent respectively); 30 percent discussed the rankings with their high school college guidance counselor and 24 percent with their high school teachers.

But what makes college rankings so important?

According to 83 percent of respondents, rankings matter the most to students who are interested in “prestige and status;” 63 percent see rankings as “very important in trying to sort out the differences between colleges.”

And a 2014 study done by the researchers at Columbia and New York University found that “changes in academic and quality-of-life reputations affect the number of applications received by a college and the academic competitiveness and geographic diversity of the ensuing incoming freshman class. Colleges receive fewer applications when peer universities earn high academic ratings.”

What do you think? Do rankings matter to you when choosing a college?

Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.


  1. Josh Niederkohr

    University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is 45 min. from where i live in Holland, Ohio (suburb of Toledo, Ohio). I want to got to college at Bowling Green State University-Bowling Green, Ohio. BGSU has a great criminal justice program that is well known on the national level. I want to study that at BGSU. BG (locals call it Bg for short of Bowling Green) also has the nickname of “college town”. This university should be in the top 10. This college is well known throughout my region. Go there.

  2. austin

    i think it depends on what your going for say if u r a football player you would want to go to a well known college with a good football history.

  3. Jamin

    Roll Tide. University of Alabama all the way.

  4. Quinn

    No I do not agree that ranking matters when you are choosing on a college.Because you need other student opinions on the colleges as well. If you just base it on how great the college is then thats not right. The article states “rankings matter the most to students who are interested in “prestige and status”(Channel 1, par 3). Which means that students with higher test scores are obliged to go those top level schools. I do not think they should rank schools on how great they are.

  5. Jenna

    It showas study evidence too plus good points in each paragraph.

  6. Jenna

    I like how it shows the percentages and gives evidence.

  7. Chris Bernard

    Very interesting, helps a lot.

  8. Chris Bernard

    I’m surprised also that Harvard is not the top school. Hm.

  9. Quinn Faerber

    I can’t believe that Harvard is not the top school

  10. Matt

    this is cool

  11. Matt

    this is good

  12. Jaidenstrickland

    No ranking doesn’t matter why? Because it’s what ever college you feel comfortable in

  13. Stephanie Castro

    OMG! Why is FIU not here?

    I bet if they had the never wet spray they would rank higher.
    I no wet.

  14. Sammy DeLucia

    I would like to go to Yale, Berkeley, and Caltech.

    • Quinn Faerber

      Thats great sammy but a lot of those schools are very expensive and a lot of people get language and sports scholarships to those schools

      • Chris

        I agree, nice sammy. 😀

      • Jenna

        I agree with Quinn because those are great goals, but those universities are very expensive and many similar degrees can be found at other colleges or universities.

  15. Jenna

    I like how this shows percents and statistics on what the college students think.

    • Samantha Woodhouse

      I agree with Jenna. It’s good to know what the students think and feel about the school they go to. They can let us know if it is a good or bad school.

    • Quinn

      I also do think that they should show the percents of students

  16. Christopher Bernard

    WOW This is amazing, WOOP OWWOPWOPWO

    • Jenna

      I agree because this information is useful and important.

    • Chris Bernard

      Very interesting, also surprised about Harvard. Helpful information.

    • Chris Bernard

      Very, I think its very important.

  17. manny

    I would go to Stanford or Yale.

  18. bre

    i want to go to yale

    • Jenna

      Wow that is a great goal.

    • Sammy DeLucia

      I would like to become a student at Yale, as well.

    • samantha woodhouse

      Yale is a great college to go to.

    • samantha woodhouse

      Yale is a great college to go to.

  19. bre

    love this info

    • Jenna

      I do too cause it shows some good options for college.

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