'Best Colleges' revealed by US News & World Report for 2023 – My Central Jersey

The 2023 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” – often viewed as the Bible to the college industry – has been released.
New Jersey’s Princeton University is still in first place (for the 12th consecutive year) as the “Best National University.” It’s followed by MIT; Harvard, Stanford, and Yale (tied for third); University of Chicago; Johns Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania (tied for seventh); California Institute of Technology; and Duke and Northwestern (tied for 10th).
While a college’s overall ranking may be of interest, the best use of rankings, for most students, is to identify the specific criteria that are important to them. In the U.S. News rankings, for example, each school is rated on its average freshmen retention rate. This is the percent of freshmen that return to the college for their sophomore year, indicating a level of happiness or satisfaction with their college. The top 25 national universities typically report first-year student retention rates of 97% to 99%.
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Another category lists the percent of classes with fewer than 20 students, and another lists the percent of classes with 50 or more students. A popular New Jersey college with small classes is The College of New Jersey which seldom, if ever, hosts a class in excess of 50 students with most classes seating fewer than 25 students.
A key component in choosing a college should be the availability of a strong program in a student’s chosen major, or field of study. Here, too, the rankings can provide valuable information.
For example, U.S. News not only ranks the best undergraduate engineering programs in general, but also ranks them by their specialties. At engineering schools that offer a doctorate degree, the highest ranked universities for biomedical engineering – Johns Hopkins, Georgia Tech and Duke – differ from the top-ranked for computer engineering – Carnegie Mellon, MIT and University of California at Berkeley.
Students can likewise differentiate among the best undergraduate business specialties, where University of Pennsylvania ranks No. 1 for finance, University of South Carolina for international business, and Babson College for entrepreneurship.
Students in the market for a college education should seek all the pertinent information available in making what is likely to be a very expensive decision that will profoundly affect the rest of their lives.
Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of Collegebound Review that, for the past 25 years, has offered PSAT/SAT® preparation and private college advising by Ivy League educated instructors. Visit CollegeboundReview.com or call 908-369-5362.


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