Others in the bottom 25 percent of each of those categories are placed in what U.S. News has labeled the Second Tier, also referred to as Tier 2, and are listed as Rank Not Published. You cannot compare the ranks of institutions in different categories because schools are compared only with their peers.
Schools that specialize in business, engineering, and art, as well as international schools, are labeled as such and are also listed as Unranked, which means that they are not ranked. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
In addition, schools with fewer than 200 students; schools with a high percentage of older, part-time students; those institutions that have indicated that they don't use the SAT or ACT in admissions decisions for first-time, first-year, degree-seeking applicants; and some schools that did not receive enough responses on the peer assessment survey to allow us to use their peer score as part of the overall ranking are not ranked and thus listed as Unranked.
You can see all the different categories in which a school is numerically ranked in the Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools, and Top Online Education Programs, via the Rankings tab along the top of the page.
Student Life: What will your classmates be like? This section supplies the breakdown of full-time and part-time students, the male and female enrollments, the racial and ethnic makeup of the student body, the in-state and out-of-state populations, the percentage of students living on campus, and the percentage who participate in fraternities and sororities. All figures are for the 2011-2012 academic year. Note that numbers may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
• International Students: We note how many undergraduates come from other countries and how many countries are represented during the 2011-2012 academic year. Special services for international students are listed. What are the application deadlines for international students? Is a pre-application form required? International students may have to demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); if so, what is the minimum TOEFL paper and/or TOEFL Internet-based score required? What was the most recent average TOEFL score? Can the TOEFL be submitted in place of the SAT or ACT?
We also provide financial information specific to foreign students. Are advance deposits required of international applicants (in addition to the tuition deposits required of all students)? Which types of aid are offered to international students? How many international undergraduates received such aid during the 2011-2012 academic year? You'll find everything you need to know about which forms to file and when to file them.
• Transfer Students: Students thinking of transferring can quickly find out when to apply and what the admissions requirements will be—whether a high school transcript will be necessary as well as a college transcript, for example, and whether an essay or admissions interview is required or recommended. What is the required minimum high school GPA and the minimum college GPA? What is the lowest course grade that may be transferred for credit? What is the maximum number of credits/courses that may be transferred? We provide the number of transfer applications received for fall 2011, the number of transfer applicants offered admission, and the number who enrolled.
• Housing: What types of college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing are available for undergraduates on campus? Are students required to live in campus housing? Where are the nearest airports and train and bus stations? Does public transportation serve campus? During the 2011-2012 academic year what proportion of undergraduates worked on campus? How much can undergraduates expect to earn per year from part-time, on-campus work? All the information is for the 2011-2012 academic year.