List of Top 20 Colleges in the United States

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: List of Top 20 Colleges in the United States
By Palomino (Palomino) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:02 pm: Edit

This was posted elsewhere, but thought folks here might want to see it...

Let me begin by saying that there are dozens of highly selective schools that people will claim should be on this list, and everyone is entitled to thier opinion. This list is not entirely subjective. I pulled together information from 4 rankings to generate this list. In order to make this list, a college had to:

1. Be among the top 20 national universities or top 10 national LACs in the most recent U.S. News America's Best Colleges ranking:

2. Be among the top 25 colleges or universities in the Wall Street Journal feeder school ranking:

3. Be among the top 25 colleges and universities in the Revealed Preference study:

4. Be among the top 25 college or universities in the LAISSEZ-FAIRE rankings:

Here are the only 20 U.S. colleges and universities that meet all these criteria (in alphabetical order):

Amherst C.

Brown U.

Columbia U.

Cornell U.

Dartmouth C.

Duke U.

Harvard U.

Haverford C.

Johns Hopkins U.


Middlebury C.

Pomona C.

Princeton U.

Rice U.

Stanford U.

Swarthmore C.

U Penn

Wellesley C.

Williams C.

Yale U.

Several schools (including Georgetown, Northwestern, U Chicago, and Wesleyan) came very close to making this list, but didn't meet all the criteria...

By Annakat (Annakat) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:10 pm: Edit

prestige whores,

please print for easy reference, so you can make yourselves feel better.

to create another ranking system from flawed ranking systems is a joke, but, hey, whatever works for you in your college selection process.

By Palomino (Palomino) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 02:19 pm: Edit

my point in examining several surveys/reports was to move beyond a single set of criterion to see if several rankings, using different methodologies, would uncover a consistent set of schools that rise above the others. This list is the result. There are tons of great schools that are not on this list. This is simply an attempt to identify the best of the best...

By Annakat (Annakat) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

ok. whatever.

By Ozmaweez7 (Ozmaweez7) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

some people have too much time on their hands

By Jolt21 (Jolt21) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit

noo, and the avg of all those rankings make Brown and Dartmouth tied...the 2 i have to choose between..:(

By Idonotcare (Idonotcare) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 05:46 pm: Edit

go Cornell!

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit

You can't go by several of the rankings OP cited, in particular since most of the schools cited do not provide them with information. Also, the WSJ rankings are based on and slanted to Top 5 grad schools in only three fields (law, business and medicine) and discount all the rest of them (both other top grad schools and other fields of study, e.g. education, architecture, journalism, etc.). Therefore, it is moot. The Laissez-Faire rankings are based on figures at least seven (and some at least 10) years old, so that too is moot. Regretably, your Top 20 list is out-dated, unreliable, and erroneous.

The USN&WR rankings are somewhat reliable since it has the most recent data, but that is also skewed by what the colleges want to give them in the way of information. Also, the new Atlantic Monthly rankings of Top 50 go beyond the numbers and will make some progress in subsequent years, but it needs some major adjustments such as separating the unis from the LACs and also calling into question some basically segmented and some regional schools without a national influence.

There'll never be a perfect ranking because it all comes down to personal choice. In the meantime, I'm afraid the OP's list is not an accurate one and must be discredited. Like the new Atlantic Monthly ranking, it is more interesting for what schools were omitted than were included.

By Huzees (Huzees) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 04:39 am: Edit

Where does drake university stand in this list of top universities? I'm particularly interested in Drake university's rank in the field of pharmacy and health sciences.

By Rahulm01 (Rahulm01) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 10:55 pm: Edit

Hey guys,

Which pharmacy school is better--VCU or Univ. of Maryland Baltimore? I'm really confused about how I can decide between the two. One is ranked higher, but atmosphere-wise, they both seem the same. Could someone please send me some advice???

By Valerie (Valerie) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 04:38 am: Edit

What about one considering
University of California at Berkeley with University of Nebraska at Lincoln and
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as top ranked contenders for the best

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