Getting Started on the College Rankings

When students start getting acceptance letters, we start sending out surveys.

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U.S. News & World Report already has begun work for the upcoming 2009 edition of America's Best Colleges rankings that are scheduled to be published in late August 2008. On March 21, 2008, we started the statistical data collection for information used to produce the America’s Best Colleges rankings, guidebook, and website. Surveys were sent to over 1,900 schools. This data collection is done online through a secure U.S. News website.

We work on the college rankings 12 months a year. We hold regular meetings with higher education experts in order to ask for suggestions as well as to understand the latest campus trends. These consultations with college presidents, deans, institutional researchers, and high school counselors give us an opportunity to gather feedback on our ranking methodology. These conferences are also an important source for story ideas.

We have recently mailed out the annual peer assessment surveys that will be used in the rankings. College presidents, provosts, and admission deans at around 1,420 colleges and universities should start receiving their surveys during the week of March 24. Respondents have roughly eight weeks to return the surveys; we send a second survey mailing after the first month to those who haven't yet responded.