Cities Journal

These Are The Best U.S. Colleges For 2016


So far this year, we have not yet had the chance to see and share with you a really comprehensive research about the best U.S. colleges, but thanks to the amazing people from Niche, we can finally do so.

In case you missed the last time we talked about Niche and their ways of finding the best K-12 schools and colleges in the United States or if you plain simple forgot, let us refresh your memory. Niche is the brainchild of Carnegie Mellon University students and its mission is to provide the American public with objective and relevant information on K-12 schools and colleges.

In order to complete their rankings of the best U.S. colleges, they looked at more than 1,700 colleges across the country and out of those, they were able to grade 1,583 and rank 1,164 of them. In order to establish how good the colleges were, they used a huge number of factors that they combined to provide different grades such as Academics Grade (25 percent), Value Grade (25 percent), Professors Grade (10 percent), Student Surveys on Overall Experience (10 percent), Diversity Grade (75. percent), Student Life Grade (7.5 percent), Athletics Grade (5 percent), Campus Quality Grade (5 percent), Local Area Grade (2.5 percent) and Safety Grade (2.5 percent). The percentages in parentheses denote what portion of the final grade they make up for.

We decided not to go into more detail as to which factors contributed to each of the grades as this would take up too much time and space. Instead, we wish to proceed and talk about the best colleges in America. According to the people from Niche, the absolute best college in the United States of America is Stanford University at Stanford, California. It earned A+ in all of the major categories, apart for the Local Area Grade where it earned C and Safety Grade where it earned a C+/ In the Student Surveys on Overall Experience, Stanford University got 4/6 out of possible 5.

Harvard University

The second best college in U.S. is Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.  The famous M.I.T. earned A+ grades in almost all categories, apart from Athletics Grade where they earned a B minus and Safety Grade where they earned a B. The overall experience was given 4.5 out of 5 by the students.

Yale University came in third. This Connecticut powerhouse of a college also earned A+ in the majority of categories. They did, however, earn “only” B+ in Athletics and Local Area and C+ in Safety. Once again, the students valued their Yale experience 4.5 out of 5. Harvard University came in at “only” fourth spot, another college which “suffered” because of their Athletics Grade which is only B. They also earned a B for their safety while they got straight A pluses in all other categories. Their students are also among the most satisfied, giving Harvard 4.6 out of 5.

In fifth place, we have one of the two surprises in the Top 10, at least if you ask general public. Namely, Rice University in Houston, Texas got all the way to spot number 5, ranking straight A pluses across the board, except in Athletics, Local Area and Safety where it earned an A, an A- and B respectively. Its students gave it 4.4 out of 5 for the overall experience.

University of Pennsylvania is the second surprise, at #6, with A+ grades in all the most important categories. They earned only B- in Athletics, A’s in Campus Quality and Local Area and a B in Safety. Its students gave it 4.3 out of 5. At 7th spot we have Duke University, the first college not to rank A+ in all of the five most important categories. It earned a “mere” in Diversity. At spot #8, we have Brown University, at #9 we have California Institute of Technology and rounding off the Top 10 is University of Southern Carolina.

You can find out more about the Niche’s list of best American colleges at their Top 100 page where you will also be able to find more details about their methodology and why different colleges ranked where they did.

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