Top Universities in the US
If you research the rankings of the top universities in the United States, you may notice that every source has slight variations. This discrepancy comes as a result of the fact that there is no single university that is better than all of the others. Instead, there are universities that specialize in different fields and that are better for certain types of people.
There are some trends that are consistent throughout all of the rankings. The Ivy League universities are consistently ranked among the best in the country. These eight schools (Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Cornell University) are located in the Northeast and have connotations of academic excellence, selectivity, and elitism. However, there are many schools that are not Ivy League universities that are as competitive and prestigious as most of the Ivies, including Stanford University, University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis.
Reading rankings of schools can be misleading at times. If you want to go into a specific field, perhaps you should look at the rankings within that field rather than the national rankings. For instance, even though many large state schools are not typically ranked at the top of the rankings, some have special undergraduate pre-professional programs that are better than those at “more prestigious” universities.