- Series: Best Colleges
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: U.S. News & World Report; Soft Cover edition (October 24, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1931469873
- ISBN-13: 978-1931469876
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Best Colleges 2018: Find the Best Colleges for You! Soft Cover Edition
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From the Author
From the foreword by Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer of U.S. News: This college search thing can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re going through it for the first time. This is our 33rd go-round at U.S. News, so we feel like we’ve got some experience worth sharing. Over the years, we’ve improved our information and sharpened our focus, with our primary objective being to help students and their parents make one of life’s most important – and costliest – decisions. Prospective students and their parents need objective measures that allow them to evaluate and compare schools. The U.S. News rankings are one tool to help them make choices, along with all the other insights and guidance contained in these pages. This sort of assistance is more relevant than ever, with some private colleges now costing around $250,000 for a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, many public high schools have greatly reduced their college counseling resources, leaving students and parents to educate themselves about the search and admission process. Of course, we have adjusted our ranking methodology over the years to reflect changes in the world of higher education, and we make it clear that we are not doing peer-reviewed social science research, although we do maintain very high survey and data standards. We have always been open and transparent. We have always said that the rankings are not perfect. The first were based solely on schools’ academic reputation among leaders at peer institutions; we later developed a formula in which reputation accounts for 22.5 percent of a school’s score and important quantitative measures such as graduation and retention rates, average class size and student-faculty ratios account for the rest. Over time, we have shifted weight from inputs (indicators of the quality of students and resources) to outputs (success in graduating students). We operate under this guiding principle: The methodology is altered only if a change will better aid our readers and web audience in comparing schools as they’re deciding where to apply and enroll. It has helped us a great deal to have these principles to focus on as we have faced the inevitable criticisms from academia about our rankings’ growing influence. One main critique remains: that it is impossible to reduce the complexities of a college’s offerings and attributes to a single number. It’s important to keep in mind that our information is a starting point. The next steps in a college search should include detailed research on a smaller list of choices, campus visits and conversations with students, faculty and alumni wherever you can find them. Feedback from academia has helped improve the rankings over time. We meet with our critics, listen to their points of view, debate them on the merits of what we do, and make appropriate changes. U.S. News is keenly aware that the higher education community is also a major audience for our rankings. We understand how seriously academics, college presidents, trustees and governing boards take our data. They study, analyze and use them in various ways, including benchmarking against peers, alumni fundraising, and advertising to attract students. What does all of this mean in today’s global information marketplace? U.S. News has become a respected, unbiased resource that higher education administrators and policymakers and the college-bound public worldwide turn to for reliable guidance. In fact, the Best Colleges rankings have become a key part of the evolving higher education accountability movement. Universities are increasingly being held responsible for their policies, how their funds are spent, the level of student engagement, and how much graduates have learned. The U.S. News rankings have become the annual public benchmark to measure the academic performance of the country’s colleges and universities. We know our role has limits. The rankings should only be used as one factor in the college search – we’ve long said that there is no single “best college.” There is only the best college for you or, more likely, a handful of good options, one of which will turn out to be a great fit. Besides the rankings, we can help college-bound high school students and their parents by providing a wealth of information on all aspects of the application process, from getting in to getting financial aid. Our website, usnews.com, features thousands of pages of rankings, research, sortable data, photos, videos and a personalized tool called College Compass. We’ve been doing this for over three decades, so we know the process is not simple. But our experience tells us the hard work is worth it in the end. (Brian Kelly)
About the Author
U.S. News and World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and analysis, which includes a multi-faceted web site (with 28 million visitors per month) and annual guidebooks on Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools, and Best Hospitals. Focusing on Health, Money, Education, Travel, Cars, and Public Service/Opinion, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. U.S. News and World Report's signature franchises 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, diets, health plans, and more.