Why we’re still fascinated by college rankings

By: | September 21, 2022

Almost 40 years ago, U.S. News & World Report asked more than 1,300 college presidents to rate their peer institutions and published the results in its inaugural “Best Colleges” rankings.

The publication’s easy-to-digest hierarchy of undergraduate institutions – based solely on reputation – was an effort to best competitors Time and Newsweek. It proved massively popular – “Best Colleges” soon became a yearly feature and spawned a college rankings industry.

Since that first list in 1983, the formula U.S. News uses to calculate its college rankings has evolved considerably, though the schools that dominate have remained much the same.

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