Check these options if you’re interested in college rankings. https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/college-rankings-options
I would like to point out that USNews is not interviewing “top academics”. They are interviewing administrators. Had they been interviewing people who actually taught students, their scores would look very different.
It seems that USNews, and many other ranking entities have little to no notion of how non-profit schools work, and think that a university is made up of the people who actually spend the smallest amount of their lives there. STydents are there for four years, and most higher administrators are there for five years. On the othe rhand, faculty will stay in their college for decades, sometimes for a lifetime.
However, USNews, like any other corporate entity, sees all institutions as having a corporate structure, and can only see faculty as typical employees. They do not understand shared governance, or see it as a threat to their own corporate structure (can you imagine USNews executive allowing non-executives any power at all?). And so ignore it, pretending that “top academics” are the people who the USNews people see as “university executives”.
I’m not sure USNews, Niche, and Forbes comprise “ All the College Ranking Lists You Should Read”.
I don’t seen any of Forbes’ “annual” rankings less than 2+ years old.
Niche ranking for anything always strike me as skewed, but at least they’re another source.
THE, QS, Shanghai, and other rankings can be useful. Major-specific rankings - USNews has a couple, CSRanking for CS, etc., can be more valuable. I think my spreadsheet currently has 8 sources for my D’s CS search
And as always, use them for what they are - some data, opinions, ideas, etc. - in a college search. Individual research, campus visits, admissions staff discussions, class sit-ins, etc., are much more meaningful