U.S. News has just released its list of the best universities to attend in the United States. Quite predictably, Princeton University and Williams College are the top schools in the country.
More interesting perhaps, is the ranking for the best engineering colleges and the most innovative schools.
For the ninth consecutive year, Princeton has been named the top national university, according to U.S. News, which releases the national rankings every September. Harvard University was second in the rankings followed by Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale University tied in the third spot.
Williams, meanwhile, was deemed the No. 1 liberal arts college for the 17th consecutive year, followed by Amherst College. Swarthmore and Wellesley colleges are tied at third place.
The most innovative schools
For the fifth time, U.S. News asked top academics participating in the peer assessment survey for the rankings to name the institutions they think are the most innovative schools.
U.S. News asked the academics to "pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes the colleges are making on their campuses."
Impressively, Arizona State University's Tempe Campus came in first in the rankings, followed by Georgia State University. Both of these beat MIT, which came in third place.
Best engineering colleges (with a doctorate program)
The universities with the best engineering programs — whose highest engineering degree offered is a doctorate — were also decided by peer assessment.
MIT, which is renowned worldwide for its engineering and technology research and innovation, came in first in the rankings. Standford came in second, followed by The University of California—Berkeley in third place.
Best engineering colleges (without a doctorate program)
The best engineering colleges, whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor's or master's, were also ranked.
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology came in first. Harvey Mudd College came in second, with Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering round out the top three.
Decide for yourself
It's worth noting that the methodology used by U.S. News has drawn criticism over the years.
Data is gathered by U.S News on graduation rates, social mobility, standardized admission test scores, faculty, and financial resources, alumni giving rates and the results of peer assessment surveys.
As The Washington Post reports, detractors say the rankings are more about prestige and wealth than real educational values, though the list is still influential and does provide a useful reference point from which prospective students can start doing a little more research.