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Obviously, rankings are not the most important characteristic of colleges. Rankings indicate little about actual student experience. Also, Columbia is an incredible school in an incredible city.
Having said that, here are the 2011 US News rankings:
1. Harvard and Princeton (tied for first)
(See National University Rankings | Top National Universities | US News Best Colleges)
I understand the reasoning behind ranking HPY above Stanford. But Columbia before Stanford and MIT and Caltech and 10 places ahead of Brown? That surprised me.
Stanford/Columbia cross admits choose Stanford 79% of the time (source:The New York Times > Week in Review > Image > Collegiate Matchups: Predicting Student Choices) and I think generally Stanford is regarded as a more prestigious school, with more resources and more opportunities for graduates in my opinion.
Could some one explain why this is the case, and what actions the Stanford Administration is taking to correct this for next year?