The Weekly Standard

Princeton University is U.S. News’s number one college in America.

Caitlyn Truong, Editor

This fall, millions of high school seniors will begin anxiously applying to colleges and determining their futures. Of these, over 35,000 will apply to the number one college in the United States. And of these 35,000, less than 2,000 will be accepted. Colleges with acceptance rates as low as these top U.S. News’s and Wall Street Journal’s recently published rankings of colleges in America. While these annual lists are certainly intimidating and ambitious, students should still be cautious about which schools they aim for.


According to U.S. News, the number one college in America is Princeton University, followed by Harvard University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University. It is worth noting that the only college in California appearing in the top 10 is Stanford University; the first University of California to appear in the list is UCLA, which is ranked nineteenth.


The Wall Street Journal deemed Harvard University the top college in America, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Columbia University, California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Brown University, Princeton University, and University of Pennsylvania.


U.S. News and Wall Street Journal judge sixteen categories to determine these lists, according to Yahoo News. 35% of the rankings are from outcomes, or amount of students graduating within a normal time. 20% are from faculty resources, or class size and faculty salary. 20% are from expert opinion, or surveys from deans and counselors. 10% are from financial resources, or the amount of money spent per student. 10% are from student excellence, which are academically based. 5% of the rankings are from amount of alumni donations.


These high rankings naturally correlate with a saddeningly low acceptance rate. The top college of U.S. News, Princeton University, had an acceptance rate of 5.5% in 2018. The top college of Wall Street Journal, Harvard University, had an even lower acceptance rate of 4.59% in 2018.


After reading 2018’s college rankings, Taylor Tran (11) comments, “All these schools are known for being popular but are also known to be super stressful and competitive. It’d be amazing to go to any one of them, but I think I’d prefer to stay on the West Coast, where it’s much less competitive.” While Princeton University and Harvard University are professionally and statistically determined to be the best, students should still keep an open mind towards smaller, more local colleges.