U.S. News Media Group Announces 2012 Edition of Best Colleges: Harvard, Princeton, and Williams Top Rankings

--2012 edition is most extensive consumer guide to date, featuring new web design, enhanced navigation, and premium research and comparison tools--

Sep 13, 2011, 09:00 ET from U.S. News Media Group

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News Media Group today released the 2012 edition of Best Colleges, which includes rankings and data of more than 1,600 schools nationwide. Harvard University and Princeton University are tied at No. 1 among Best National Universities, while Williams College, for the ninth consecutive year, tops the list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. The 350-page 2012 edition of the Best Colleges guidebook is available at USNews.com and will be on newsstands September 20.

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The 2012 Best Colleges rankings feature the established rankings of the Best National Universities and Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, while also including rankings of Top Public Schools, A+ Schools for B Students, Best Value Schools and Up-and-Coming Schools, among many others.

"As choosing the right school becomes more complicated and costly each year, U.S. News strives to provide students and families with the best information and tools to help guide them through the college process," said U.S. News & World Report Editor Brian Kelly. "With the new site upgrades, advanced search, and social media features, the 2012 edition of Best Colleges offers the most extensive college guide to date."

In addition to the new rankings data, this is the first edition of the Best Colleges rankings to be launched on the newly redesigned U.S. News Education site. With a clean, fresh look, the site now provides increased usability and navigation and more than 20 new Knowledge Centers to help guide users through the college decision process. The new and improved premium product, the U.S. News College Compass, now offers a wealth of college information, expanded school profiles, data and rankings, and advanced search and comparison tools. The recently added "My Fit" feature allows users to filter through more than 1,800 schools on 17 different measures, including academic and personal preferences, helping them focus their research efforts toward schools that match their criteria.

This year, Google is sponsoring free access to the College Compass to help students explore and evaluate their college options.  Anyone who registers between September 13-16 will receive free access to the complete rankings and tools for one year (normally $19.95). "With 61 of the top 100 schools now using Google Apps for Education, Google is honored to help students across the nation learn, collaborate and build on their academic success," said Thomas Mills, Google's Enterprise Director for Global Education. To learn more, visit google.com/apps/top100schools.

A new social media feature has also been added to Best Colleges that allows users to discover where their friends have attended college and connect directly with their friends on Facebook. This is another step U.S. News is taking to help provide resources to students and parents during their college search.

The college ranking categories used in the 2012 rankings have been updated to reflect the 2010 edition of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education's basic classification. As a result, some colleges have changed categories in the 2012 edition rankings. Also included in the rankings for the first time are all for-profit institutions that meet the other U.S. News criteria to become eligible for the rankings. For more information about the 2012 Best Colleges ranking methodology, go to www.usnews.com/collegemeth.

In an exclusive arrangement, the launch of the 2012 edition of Best Colleges is being sponsored by Fidelity Investments.  For more information about Best Colleges, visit www.usnews.com/colleges or find us on Facebook or Twitter.  To learn more about the U.S. News College Compass or to order a copy of the 2012 Best Colleges book, visit the online U.S. News Store.  

Best Colleges Rankings 2012
*For the full list of rankings, visit www.usnews.com/college

Best National Universities
1. Harvard University (MA)
1. Princeton University (NJ)
3. Yale University (CT)
4. Columbia University (NY)
5. California Institute of Technology
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Stanford University (CA)
5. University of Chicago
5. University of Pennsylvania

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges
1. Williams College (MA)
2. Amherst College (MA)
3. Swarthmore College (PA)
4. Pomona College (CA)
5. Middlebury College (VT)

Best Value Schools

National Universities
1. Harvard University (MA)
2. Yale University (CT)
3. Princeton University (NJ)
4. Stanford University (CA)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Liberal Arts Colleges
1. Amherst College (MA)
2. Williams College (MA)
3. Pomona College (CA)
4. Wellesley College (MA)
5. Swarthmore College (PA)

Up-and-Coming Schools

National Universities
1. University of Maryland—Baltimore County
2. George Mason University (VA)
3. Indiana University-Purdue University—Indianapolis
4. Clemson University (SC)
4. University of Central Florida

National Liberal Arts Colleges
1. Hendrix College (AR)
2. Ursinus College (PA)
3. University of Richmond (VA)
4. Allegheny College (PA)
4. Beloit College (WI)

About the U.S. News Media Group.  The U.S. News Media Group is a multi-platform publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, www.usnews.com, and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Money, Education, Travel, Cars, and Public Service/Opinion, the U.S. News Media Group has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. The U.S. News Media Group's signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its "Best" series of consumer guides that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans, and more.

SOURCE U.S. News Media Group