The 2021 US News & World Report college rankings are out. And which school topped the list? That would be Princeton University, marking the ninth consecutive year the Ivy League school has outperformed all of its peers in the annual college ranking. And which school earned the runner-up nod? Look no further than Harvard University. There’s psychological science that suggests bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists since bronze medalists just barely got on the medal stand, whereas silver medalists are often disappointed they missed out on gold. With this science in mind, Columbia University placed third in the annual college ranking. Last year, Columbia shared the bronze medal platform with Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — but not this year.
2021 US News Top 25 Universities
And which elite universities round out the top 25? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University took fourth. Stanford University and the University of Chicago took sixth. The University of Pennsylvania took eighth. The California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University took ninth. Duke University took 12th, Dartmouth College 13th, Brown University and Vanderbilt University 14th, Rice University and Washington University in St. Louis 16th, Cornell University 18th, Notre Dame University 19th, the University of California — Los Angeles 20th, Emory University 21st, the University of California — Berkeley 22nd, Georgetown University 23rd, and the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California 24th.
2021 Trends Include Rise of Caltech and Wash U
So what are the trends in the latest ranking? Which schools are up and which are down? Well, Yale, MIT, Dartmouth, and Cornell slipped a slot each, while UPenn and Duke slipped two slots. Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, and Rice inched up a slot, while Caltech and Wash U rose three slots. Notre Dame slipped four slots. And while, in our experience, the US News & World Report college ranking is the most important ranking to admissions officers, know that minor year-to-year fluctuations don’t mean all that much. Is Yale’s admissions office fretting slipping a slot? No. While they’re not celebrating dropping a slot, they’re not anxious about it either. And if you’re applying to college, we encourage you to view the rankings similarly: don’t change your Early Decision / Early Action strategy based on one school dropping a couple of slots and another school inching up. That’s just plain silly.
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