Harvard has taken over the lone top spot in this year’s US News & World Report’s 2011 best college ranking. Previous number one (tied with Harvard) Princeton fell to number two.
Rounding out the top five best college ranking were Yale, Columbia, and Stanford.
On the liberal arts side of things, Williams College was number one, followed by Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Wellesley.
The US News $ World Report’s Best Colleges rankings are generally regarded as the most influential of college rankings, and it’s annual print edition is always a top seller. This year saw some slight changes in the methodology used to compile the rankings, featuring more of an emphasis on graduation rates, which seems like a smart move.
There’s already some backlash from the list, with NPR asking if the rankings really tell us anything. They argue that the lists really don’t seem to change too much from year to year, which is tough to defend (sure there’s some slight reshuffling, but it’s not as if Harvard is ever going to drop out of the top 10 for example).
Nonetheless, more magazines are getting into the college ranking business, with Forbes earlier this month releasing it’s third annual best colleges issue.