Thanks for your reply!
We have started a good discussion. I have long wondered about the rankings of univerties. I was aware of the rankings that you posted (or at least of two of the three) but am a bit mistru****l. What does USNWR measure? Are you aware? I vaguely remember reading something, somewhere that was just as ambiguous as my memory of it!
I would hate to go to the "#1" that is ranked such because of high tuition rates or because the sons and daughters of rich people go there. It seems that almost all of the top universities ten in the three categories that you listed fall in my category of "schools with a fancy name."
Perhaps I am exagerating, but only a tat.
What I like about the ranking that I posted is that I know precisely what the authors of the article measure and that I find publication, in general, a measurement that gives a good idea about how prestigious a certain program is. (And I do so because my fiance, who got his PhD two years ago, is currently applying to positions as tenure-track faculty and a scientist at a commercial company, puts--he and his potential employers--a heavy emphasis on how many academic articles he has published and in how prestigioius of journals.) I also like the fact that it was done by a university rather than a profit organizations, as are some of the other rankings. Finally, I respect the fact that the authors put an effort into making the ranking comprehensive; unlike other rankings, this one includes universities from outside of the United States. Personally, I would give anything to write my dissertation at #5 on the list than Harvard or Columbia; but then again, this is my personal preference as is the one about which ranking to take into consideration.
To sum up, the rankings that both of us posted are not intrinsically different. With some minor exceptions, they rank the universities in similar order (who cares is Harvard is #1 or #2?). If anything, the ranking, to which I posted a link, gives another perspective that the other rankings do not offer. It should be credited for at least that much!
All the best and good luck with your applications!