Forbes Magazine's List of America's Best Colleges

Last updated

In 2008, Forbes.com began publishing an annual list of America's Top Colleges. [1] Post-graduate success (alumni salaries from PayScale and data from the federal Department of Education) constitutes 35% of the score. Student debt levels constitute 20% of the score. Student experience (retention rates reported by the Department of Education and data from Niche) constitutes 20% of the score. Graduation rates constitute 12.5% of the score. Academic success (using both the percentage of a school's student body that goes on to obtain doctorate degrees, and those students who have won one of a diverse array of prestigious academic awards) constitutes 12.5%. Public reputation is not considered, which causes some colleges to score lower than in other lists. A three-year moving average is used to smooth out the scoring.

Starting in 2013, four schools that had admitted to misreporting admissions data were removed from the list for two years. The four removed colleges were Bucknell University, Claremont McKenna College, Emory University, and Iona College. [2]

Rankings

Forbes rated Princeton the country’s best college in its inaugural (2008) list. [3] West Point took the top honor the following year. [4] Williams College was ranked first both in 2010 and 2011, and Princeton returned to the top spot in 2012. [5] [6] [7] In 2013 and 2016, Stanford occupied the No. 1 spot, with elite liberal arts schools Williams and Pomona College topping the rankings in the intervening years. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Since 2017, the magazine has ranked Harvard as the best college in America.

America’s Top Colleges (Top 50) [14] [15] [16]
Institution3yr.Avg.201720182019
Harvard University 1111
Stanford University 2232
Yale University 3323
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4544
Princeton University 5455
University of Pennsylvania 7776
Brown University 8987
California Institute of Technology 7668
Duke University 98109
Dartmouth College 1012910
Cornell University 13151311
Pomona College 14101912
University of California, Berkeley 19291413
Columbia University 14141514
Georgetown University 16211215
University of Chicago 17161816
Northwestern University 22282017
University of Notre Dame 22262118
Williams College 14131119
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 27382220
Rice University 24222821
Johns Hopkins University 26302522
Harvey Mudd College 21182323
US Naval Academy 25203224
Swarthmore College 23192425
Bowdoin College 22231726
Vanderbilt University 29273227
Amherst College 20171628
Claremont McKenna College 22112629
University of Southern California 35443030
Washington University in St. Louis 34363631
US Military Academy 28242732
University of Virginia 36403433
Tufts University 33323334
New York University 45524835
Middlebury College 36393436
Carnegie Mellon University 48456337
University of California, Los Angeles 44464838
Bates College 34352939
Wesleyan University 37333740
Boston College 47495041
Washington and Lee University 34312842
US Air Force Academy 41414043
Wellesley College 40324444
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 46474745
Colgate University 44424546
College of William & Mary 43384347
Davidson College 41344148
Haverford College 37253849
Barnard College 54545750

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