How to use the rankings: Just how can rankings help you identify colleges and universities that are right for you? Certainly, the college experience consists of a host of intangibles that cannot be reduced to mere numbers. But for families, the U.S. News rankings provide an excellent starting point because they offer the opportunity to judge the relative quality of institutions based on widely accepted indicators of excellence. You can compare different schools' numbers at a glance, and looking at unfamiliar schools that are ranked near schools you know can be a good way to broaden your search.
Of course, many factors other than those we measure will figure in your decision, including the feel of campus life, activities, sports, academic offerings, location, cost, and availability of financial aid. But if you combine our information with college visits, interviews, and your own intuition, our rankings can be a powerful tool in your quest for college. It goes without saying that it's very important to research the course and program offerings at any school you're interested in.
How can you best use our rankings? Mining the data for the information you need can definitely inform your thinking. The hard work is up to you.