In articles addressing the trouble with college rankings, John Tierney and Malcom Gladwell opine on various factors driving the college admissions race.
USNews College Rankings are focused on big name prestige and are usually the most quoted; but they're not necessarily the most valid or useful.
Washington Monthly College Rankings focus on the other side of the coin: social mobility, research prowess, and serving the public good.
Forbes publishes a well-known annual list of America's Top Colleges.
Rankings by stateuniversity.com are widely cited and well regarded.
Business Insider's list of 50 Best Colleges in America emphasizes graduation rates and early-career earnings. See also BI's list of Top 25 Business Schools.
The London Times provides yearly World University Rankings and U.S. Liberal Arts College Rankings.
In this day of quarter million dollar undergrad degrees, the USNews lists of Best Value Universities and Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges get lots of well-deserved attention.
Other lesser-known lists warrant consideration, also (see here and here).
In the hyper-competitive early 21st century higher-ed arena, getting in to college – and then getting out, successfully – is arguably more important than where one matriculates.
Ultimately, success for graduating high schoolers will depend mostly on the factors that have always mattered most: relationships, talent, and tons of hard work and persistence.
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