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Princeton, Cal top college rankings

Updated: 2016-09-13 09:54
By AMY HE in New York (chinadaily.com.cn)

Princeton, Cal top college rankings

A screenshot of lists of 2017 US News Best Colleges Rankings.

Princeton University remains the best private university in the US, according to the latest US News & World Report college rankings, and the University of California Berkeley — which has a large Chinese-student presence — is the top public school in the US.

US News released its 2017 Best Colleges rankings on Tuesday, and the top private universities are Princeton, Harvard University, University of Chicago, Yale University, Columbia University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University.

Of those, Columbia University has the most international students from China.

The top public universities in the country are UC Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina.

Of the public universities, UC Berkeley and UCLA have the highest number of Chinese international students, according to a list compiled by Foreign Policy magazine.

Williams College in Massachusetts was selected as the best liberal arts college for the 14th year in a row.

The list of schools, published annually and used often by prospective college students, is based on 15 measures of academic quality, such as student graduation and retention rates.

US News also included a list of schools with the most international students to better help international students who are interested in studying abroad. The list is widely consulted by Chinese students, and the media company publishes articles in Chinese to let students and their parents understand the college admissions process, how to work with agents, and paying for college.

"US colleges and universities are becoming increasingly global and are finding new ways to support their international students. There is an influx of Chinese students looking to study in the US, and US News wants them to have easy access to trusted information that caters to their unique needs and helps them find the right college," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at US News.

"For both international and US students, a college choice can profoundly affect career opportunities, financial well-being and quality of life. The US News rankings can help prospective students navigate through the process of finding the right college, and can provide security and set expectations for their investments," she said to China Daily.

Despite the popularity of the rankings list, it also has faced criticism from education experts who say that the way US News ranks the colleges is inconsistent year to year, making it hard to gauge why a certain college outranks another.

Critics, such as the non-profit Education Conservancy, say that the list implies a "false precision and authority that is not warranted by the data US News uses" and overweighs a university's prestige.

The education organization said in a 2007 letter to college presidents protesting the ranking that the list reflects little to nothing about students' abilities to learn at the universities.

There also have been examples of colleges trying to game the system in order to earn a higher ranking on the list, such as Claremont-McKenna College in California, which was caught in 2012 for providing US News with false SAT scores.

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