In our ongoing effort to make our America's Best Colleges guide as useful and informative as possible to our readers, U.S. News plans two new features for the upcoming 2009 edition of the America's Best Colleges rankings to be published on Aug. 22, 2008, on usnews.com.
The first one is in response to the criticisms that say the academic peer assessment survey filled out by college administrators is too slow to pick up improvements at colleges. U.S. News asked top academics in spring 2008 to name schools that they think are "Up and Coming Institutions." College presidents, provosts, and admission deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges that are making improvements in academics, faculty, students, campus life, diversity, and facilities. These schools are worth watching because they are making promising and innovative changes. This question on the survey enabled college officials to pick schools that are rapidly evolving in ways that the public should be aware of. We think the public and academia will be very interested in the results.
Second, U.S.News & World Report in spring 2008 for the first time asked a nationwide cross section of public school high school counselors for their views on undergraduate programs at American colleges and universities in our national universities and liberal arts colleges ranking categories. How will U.S.News & World Report use these new ranking data? We are going to publish the findings in the upcoming America's Best Colleges issue of the magazine, available in August 2008. We believe strongly that the opinions that high schools counselors, who play a key role in the college admission process, have about the merits of the nation's leading colleges will provide a very valuable source of information for prospective students, their parents, and our readers.