To aid prospective students and families in researching colleges, on Monday, Sept. 14, U.S. News & World Report will publish its 2021 edition of Best Colleges. These rankings of National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges focus on academic excellence, with U.S. institutions ranked on more than 15 measures of academic quality.
The result of months of data collection and analysis, the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings expose users to the broad range of four-year degree options available. U.S. News recommends prospective students explore the rankings to create an initial list of schools based on academics, and then use the website’s search tools and data to more closely examine other factors based on their personal priorities and interests.
The ranking methodologies will be updated on usnews.com on Sept. 14 and will provide a comprehensive explanation of any major methodology updates.
Below are a few of the key changes in the 2021 edition of the Best Colleges rankings:
— U.S. News will now rank schools that report they don’t use the SAT or ACT at all in admissions decisions. Previously, beginning with the 2008 edition of Best Colleges, these test-blind schools had been automatically excluded from the overall rankings and categorized as “Unranked.” Keep in mind that these are different from schools that have test-optional or text-flexible admissions policies, which have always been ranked and will continue to be ranked. As result of this change, more than 60 schools will be added to the overall rankings.
— U.S. News will publish an undergraduate computer science ranking for the first time, to highlight one of the most rapidly growing and important majors in higher education today. This ranking of 481 undergraduate computer science schools and departments will be based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty at peer computer science schools and departments. In addition, U.S. News will also publish computer science specialty rankings in these nine key areas: artificial intelligence, biocomputing/bioinformatics/biotechnology, computer systems, cybersecurity, data analytics/science, mobile/web applications, programming languages, software engineering, and theory.
— In the undergraduate business programs ranking, for the first time, U.S. News will rank business analytics, a rapidly growing offering at business schools.
Beyond the rankings and directory, users can sign up for the U.S. News College Compass to receive access to the My Fit custom ranking, additional data and other exclusive interactive tools. A new feature this year for those with free U.S. News accounts is access to the College Admissions Calculator. This new tool enables users to see how their high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores stack up against other individuals who reported that they were accepted, wait-listed and rejected at various schools.
U.S. News will also publish most of its college rankings with robust datasets in the ” Best Colleges 2021” guidebook, which will start shipping in early October and be available in bookstores on Oct. 27.
The 2021 edition of Best Colleges will include specialized rankings, such as the most innovative colleges and universities and those with the greatest commitment to undergraduate teaching. U.S. News will also offer the annual rankings of historically black colleges and universities, undergraduate engineering programs and academic programs to look for, such as study abroad, co-ops/internships and undergraduate research/creative projects.
In addition, prospective students and parents can access lists, tables and articles that will help them navigate the college application process, including:
— Best Value Schools, which lists the colleges that offer the best value for students getting need-based financial aid.
— A-plus Schools for B Students, a list of options for students who don’t have straight-A grades but want to attend a good college.
— Best Colleges for Veterans, a ranking of institutions that award federal financial aid benefits specific to veterans and active service members, and enrolled a critical mass of these students.
— Paying for College guide, which provides vital information on managing college costs via savings, scholarships, loans and more.
Users will also be able to see updated lists of:
— The top public schools.
— Campuses with economic diversity, based on the percent of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants.
— Campuses with ethnic diversity.
— Schools that award the most merit aid.
— Schools where first year students are most (and least) likely to return.
— Schools with the highest four-year graduation rates.
— Schools with the most international students.
— Schools with the highest proportion of classes with fewer than 20 students (College Compass subscription required).
Via U.S. News Academic Insights, school officials can also access more Best Colleges rankings and data, including historical information about their own school as well as peer institutions. College or graduate school representatives can learn more about the Academic Insights tool online or request a demo.
Media representatives: To get access to 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings materials, please email Education-PR@usnews.com.
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