Stanford University is just raking in the rankings. Its latest accolade came from review site Niche, which released its 2017 edition of "Best Colleges in America" on Monday with the Stanford California university in the top spot.
Stanford is no stranger to being No. 1 on Niche — it's come in first place on the site's best colleges list for the past three years, according to a news release. This year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, came in second and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, got third.
The rankings are calculated from data on academics, finance, admissions and student life, according to Niche. It also includes reviews from alumni and current students. Anecdotes about each school are included alongside each institution on the list.
"More than half of all college-bound high school students use Niche to research colleges, so our rankings are intended to be useful to a wide range of students and filterable by type and location," the company writes on its frequently asked questions page. "Our rankings strive to reflect the entire college experience, from freshman year to life after college."
All college rankings, including Niche's, should be viewed skeptically. Companies rank institutions often based on data the colleges themselves provide. This means the rankings can be manipulated — and not all lists are created equal.
To get around this, try comparing similar lists against each other. For example, U.S. News and World Report — widely accepted as one of the most reputable rankings — has Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, as its No. 1 national university. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, came in second, followed by the University of Chicago in Chicago.
Looking at rankings can be helpful if you're trying to find specific information about a school. To that end, Niche broke down its rankings into categories. Check the site for best colleges, best liberal arts schools, top private universities, best community colleges, best value colleges and top public universities.
Read on for Niche's top 20 best colleges overall:
- Stanford University in Stanford, California
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
- Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
- Rice University in Houston
- Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine
- University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Brown University in Providence
- Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
- Columbia University in New York City
- Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire
- Vanderbilt University in Nashville
- Pomona College in Claremont, California
- California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California
- University of Southern California in Los Angeles
- University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana
- University of Chicago in Chicago
- Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia