My Version 2023 Supreme T75 College Ranking: Aggregating the 13 Premier Rankings to Create One Ultimate Ranking

Now that the new US News ranking has been released, I’m happy to release The 2023 Supreme T75 College Ranking as a counterbalance to singular ranking publications. The goal of this aggregate ranking is to incorporate the different viewpoints and methodologies espoused by the 13 biggest undergraduate college rankings to identify which colleges are truly the best overall schools that excel across the widest range of criteria. Also, for the sake of consistency, I unfortunately had to omit LACs! Here’s the result:

School Overall Rank US News WSJ/THE Niche Forbes Washington Monthly Money Wallet Hub Degree Choices College Simply College Vine Prepler College Raptor College Consensus
MIT 1 2 3 1 1 3 1 1 6 8 5 1 1 1
Stanford 2 3 2 3 2 1 3 9 2 3 1 2 5 2
Princeton 3 1 8 5 4 4 2 2 1 2 4 5 2 3
Harvard 4 3 1 2 15 6 6 4 20 1 2 3 7 5
Duke 5 10 5 8 9 5 9 8 9 5 6 8 9 7
Yale 5 3 4 4 8 7 4 5 25 4 3 4 23 4
Penn 7 7 12 11 10 2 10 14 10 16 8 6 8 25
Caltech 8 9 7 7 45 14 33 3 7 7 10 9 3 19
Columbia 9 18 16 12 5 25 24 12 24 21 15 7 6 17
Northwestern 9 10 9 14 11 30 13 7 34 14 13 11 10 26
Vanderbilt 11 13 15 13 13 29 30 11 13 15 18 18 15 9
Rice 12 15 18 6 12 63 23 6 14 9 16 16 13 13
Dartmouth 13 12 13 10 14 12 18 18 68 12 12 15 11 24
UChicago 14 6 14 16 20 41 38 16 55 6 7 10 4 21
Brown 15 13 6 9 19 40 29 19 72 11 9 12 14 18
Cornell 16 17 11 23 16 8 19 29 78 17 14 13 18 10
UMich 17 25 24 25 25 26 5 25 8 40 31 17 25 11
Johns Hopkins 18 7 9 21 18 23 35 10 67 10 21 23 19 35
WashU 19 15 17 15 27 27 34 30 41 18 23 14 20 20
Notre Dame 20 18 28 19 36 10 14 38 39 28 22 20 16 14
Georgetown 21 22 32 17 22 15 12 39 15 25 30 21 32 36
UCLA 22 20 27 24 6 21 11 20 16 55 55 25 37 15
Berkeley 23 20 36 48 2 9 17 17 11 59 54 24 27 16
UVA 24 25 55 27 29 31 8 33 21 56 49 29 17 27
UNC 25 29 33 42 28 24 7 40 18 44 43 30 56 23
CMU 26 22 21 22 46 34 49 21 35 38 46 26 30 61
UF 27 29 54 41 26 33 20 22 4 68 67 38 52 30
Emory 28 22 20 34 31 55 65 36 46 22 36 28 38 53
USC 28 25 19 28 21 52 43 50 58 32 27 19 48 64
Georgia Tech 30 44 69 26 35 70 15 13 5 106 68 31 65 32
UCSD 31 34 43 76 17 20 25 53 17 75 99 37 63 47
BC 32 36 57 39 42 35 39 52 87 46 61 35 46 72
UT Austin 33 38 60 46 43 88 36 45 48 79 71 33 59 39
W&M 34 41 78 63 41 45 64 59 65 45 64 42 36 52
UIUC 35 41 45 59 34 17 16 81 22 104 133 40 69 44
UCI 36 34 87 66 30 56 21 27 29 77 112 44 82 51
UCD 37 38 40 85 23 11 22 74 33 81 128 45 108 31
UW Seattle 38 55 45 70 33 19 31 99 19 74 89 41 100 46
UW Madison 39 38 58 53 49 16 26 94 84 92 97 36 70 37
Wake Forest 40 29 61 49 50 53 41 N/A 60 N/A 44 94 101 75
Lehigh 41 51 61 62 106 37 27 96 31 43 52 55 78 80
Tufts 42 32 30 38 32 99 78 49 261 29 28 22 39 50
NYU 43 25 26 50 60 113 99 62 157 35 39 27 51 111
UCSB 44 32 76 89 39 66 44 63 50 100 146 34 80 54
BU 45 41 42 47 54 86 80 66 153 62 70 32 61 96
Purdue 46 51 48 79 58 65 46 103 38 93 119 54 112 48
UMD 47 55 80 100 40 78 52 72 64 80 108 46 54 101
URochester 48 36 52 72 97 83 82 56 149 50 60 39 73 104
UGA 49 49 143 52 64 114 61 57 42 127 88 56 77 81
NCSU 50 72 117 83 70 74 55 73 53 96 96 63 90 76
GW 51 62 72 95 61 44 86 116 75 67 90 52 103 103
CWRU 52 44 51 65 107 167 85 46 91 49 77 43 99 108
Texas A&M 52 67 79 75 52 42 32 127 63 97 137 59 136 66
Villanova 54 51 128 69 94 81 67 69 81 64 82 166 58 113
UM Twin Cities 55 62 85 92 68 39 42 142 121 130 117 51 85 90
SCU 56 55 74 106 56 120 60 121 51 52 84 167 67 117
Virginia Tech 57 62 104 68 82 28 28 135 44 115 141 164 93 67
FSU 58 55 173 61 67 102 57 55 43 177 114 62 115 92
UConn 59 67 103 144 74 79 51 89 112 89 136 65 83 95
Northeastern 60 44 86 45 79 138 66 44 196 99 93 49 194 83
BYU 61 89 138 98 57 13 N/A 101 30 112 131 168 112 93
Rutgers 62 55 136 111 93 91 69 95 86 110 140 61 79 114
Colorado School of Mines 63 89 184 96 123 54 47 N/A 26 135 157 60 95 126
RPI 64 51 101 110 177 93 62 92 56 134 125 57 117 118
Brandeis 65 44 111 120 112 131 92 67 229 73 94 47 72 105
OSU (Ohio) 66 49 99 80 173 95 74 113 130 147 116 50 84 88
UMiami 67 55 49 57 78 328 109 100 232 48 81 48 113 119
Clemson 68 77 182 105 113 149 76 123 73 116 124 69 102 110
IU Bloomington 69 72 97 113 91 67 59 227 59 160 199 68 114 106
SUNY Stony Brook 70 77 125 227 86 139 72 75 54 124 158 81 110 112
Stevens Institute of Technology 71 83 181 149 158 197 37 79 36 107 129 71 106 133
MSU 72 77 81 103 81 48 50 244 85 186 188 72 154 102
UDelaware 73 89 152 143 132 73 63 166 57 122 161 70 156 107
SUNY Binghamton 74 83 163 166 65 107 58 64 52 113 167 313 76 115
WPI 75 67 121 138 188 160 53 N/A 122 N/A 118 113 137 123
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Fun Findings:

Using the data I obtained to make this ranking, I found some interesting datapoints and trends:

  • Undisputed #1: MIT is the #1 college in the US! Incredibly, MIT was ranked as the #1 college in the country on a whopping 7 of the 13 publications!

  • No Consensus T5: No school is a T5 in all 13 rankings. Stanford and Princeton are the closest, but they miss the T5 in exactly one publication each (Stanford is #9 on WalletHub, Princeton is #8 on WSJ/THE).

  • Consensus T10: However, there are four schools that rank in the T10 in all 13 rankings: MIT, Stanford, Princeton, and Duke. Harvard and Yale are the next closest, both missing the T10 on two publications each.

  • T5 Contenders: There are 13 schools that rank in the T5 in at least one ranking: MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Duke, Yale, Penn, Caltech, Columbia, UChicago, Berkeley, Georgia Tech, and UF. However, there are only 7 schools that rank in the T5 in multiple rankings: MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, and Caltech.

  • T10 Contenders: There are 25 schools that rank in the T10 in at least one ranking: MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, Penn, Caltech, Northwestern, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, UChicago, Brown, Vanderbilt, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, UMich, UCLA, Berkeley, Georgia Tech, UF, UVA, and UNC. However, only 18 schools rank in the T10 in multiple rankings: MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, Penn, Caltech, Northwestern, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, UChicago, Brown, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, and UMich.

  • Ivies vs Non-Ivies: The Ivies have an average rank of 9 on this list, while the top eight non-Ivies (MIT, Stanford, Duke, Caltech, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rice, and UChicago) have an average rank of 7.75, so the non-Ivies win by a hair!

  • State Supremacy: To determine which states might have the best schools, I took the three highest ranked schools from each state and calculated their average rank. Of course, this was for fun and is far from a perfect measure as the ranking omits LACs and other specialized schools, and three schools from each state is a small sample size and does not reflect the depth of great universities some states might have. Only 13 states had at least three schools in the T75, and the results were:

  1. California (Stanford, Caltech, UCLA) - 10.66
  2. Massachusetts (MIT, Harvard, BC) - 12.33
  3. Illinois (Northwestern, UChicago, UIUC) - 19.33
  4. New York (Columbia, Cornell, NYU) - 22.66
  5. North Carolina (Duke, UNC, Wake Forest) - 23.33
  6. Pennsylvania (Penn, CMU, Lehigh) - 24.66
  7. Maryland (Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, UMD) - 28.66
  8. Texas (Rice, UT Austin, Texas A&M) - 32.33
  9. Georgia (Emory, Georgia Tech, UGA) - 35.66
  10. Virginia (UVA, W&M, Virginia Tech) - 38.33
  11. Indiana (Notre Dame, Purdue, IU Bloomington) - 45
  12. New Jersey (Princeton, Rutgers, Stevens Institute of Technology) - 45.33
  13. Florida (UF, FSU, UMiami) - 50.66
  • Regional Supremacy: To determine which of the four US regions have the best schools, I took the five highest ranked schools from each region and calculated their average rank. To determine which states fall within each of the regions, I used the US Census Bureau’s interpretation of what the regions are. Just like with state supremacy, this was for fun and still an imperfect measure of school quality in each region.
  1. Northeast (MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Penn) - unsurprisingly
  2. Midwest (Northwestern, UChicago, UMich, WashU, Notre Dame)
  3. South (Duke, Vanderbilt, Rice, UNC, UF)
  4. West (Stanford, Caltech, UCLA, Berkeley, USC)
  • Mind the Gap: There are a few large gaps between spots in the ranking. The first major gap is between #5 (tied) Duke/Yale and #7 Penn. There are more big gaps between #23 Berkeley and #24 UVA, #28 (tied) Emory/USC and #30 Georgia Tech, #42 Tufts and #43 NYU, #52 (tied) CWRU/Texas A&M and #54 Villanova, and a final large gap between the #66 OSU (Ohio) and #67 UMiami.
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Comparing Results to US News, WSJ/THE, Forbes, etc.:

Based on this overall ranking, there are clearly some schools that are being underrated and overrated by the major individual ranking publications such as US News. I thought it would be useful to use my data to highlight which these schools are to give them a more accurate view and representation as we begin applying in a few months!

Underrated in T25:
Duke, Columbia (given the new #18 on US News), Rice, UMich

Other Underrated:
UNC, Georgia Tech, UT Austin, W&M, UIUC, UW Seattle, Lehigh, UMD, NCSU, GW, Texas A&M, UM Twin Cities, UConn, BYU, Colorado School of Mines, SUNY Stony Brook, Stevens Institute of Technology, MSU, UDelaware, SUNY Binghamton

Overrated in T25:
UChicago, Johns Hopkins, WashU, CMU, Emory

Other Overrated:
Wake Forest, Tufts, NYU, UCSB, URochester, CWRU, Northeastern, Rutgers, RPI, Brandeis, OSU (Ohio), UMiami, WPI

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Lol

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Prepler, College Raptor, Degree Choices rank a school differently than USNews, so obviously USNews is wrong and the others “more accurate”?
Because a “compilation of hundreds of college guidebooks and millions of online reviews.” is the best way to evaluate a college?

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Personally I think that this list is entertaining and would thank you for putting this together.

I would not choose a university to attend based on any of the many lists that exist.

One issue is affordability. Another is fit. Another is the strength of the school in whatever major the student is likely to choose. All of these will of course vary from one student to the next. Also, you did mention “I unfortunately had to omit LACs”, which is both understandable and important. I do not know how you would compare Amherst or Bowdoin College to Harvard, but of course all would provide an excellent education to many strong students. Also foreign universities (or what I call “slightly foreign” in Canada) are missing, again for reasons that are understandable.

In terms of underrated schools, I would be tempted to add Caltech to that list.

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Washington Monthly’s list is absurd.

Brown at #40
Rice #63

Michigan State is ranked #48 with a 73%? acceptance rate.

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Perhaps in their view the quality of education might not be closely correlated to acceptance rate?

I don’t place much of any credence on any of the rankings, but I am not sure why Washington Monthly’s is any more “absurd” than the others. In their description of methodology, they note . . .

Our rankings consist of three equally weighted portions: social mobility, research, and community and national service. This means that top-ranked colleges needed to be excellent across the full breadth of our measures, rather than excelling in just one measure.

Seems as reasonable of an approach as the others.

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Aggregating a lot of bad data doesn’t magically transform it into good data.

Each of those rankings is heavily flawed, and, unfortunately, enough are flawed in the same way, that aggregating this data merely magnifies many of these flaws. For example, a common major flaw is the fact that most of those lists use indirect and direct estimates of the average income of the families of the students as major factors in rankings. Another common major flaw is that most of these rankings use popularity-based factors for rankings.

That is why the most popular colleges with the wealthiest students tend to come out on top in most rankings, and also in yours.

So, I am sorry, because you evidently put a some effort into this, but your aggregate list is no better than any of the lists that you used. I mean, it’s fascinating and worthwhile discussing why certain colleges are always in the top. However, it is no more useful as a tool for students who are looking for a college than are any of those other lists that you have used.

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You should send this to Columbia. They would appreciate some good news after being outed for bad behavior.

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Do SMU and Fordham fall just below the list? They are tied with Indiana in US News at #72 which is a drop of four for all three from last year. Arguably, that drop is due to ties.

Also, Miami (#51), Syracuse (#62) and Pepperdine (#51) don’t make your list. Is it tougher for privates to make high on an aggregate list which may be influenced by average or listed cost?

Fascinating, @ovo_sammy ! Thank you so much for doing all this authoritative, irrefutable, and indisputable hard work so the rest of us don’t have to.

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This.

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There is nothing quite like seeing a school simultaneously ranked at 5 and 106 to tell you how little most rankings mean. At least the top few are moderately consistent.

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Since you mentioned Fordham and the topic is bad rankings (I think). Niche now has Fordham as #292 from mid 60s a few months ago iirc. No idea what the rationale is, but that one jumped out as fishy.

Yes, Fordham and SMU unfortunately just missed the T75. SMU ended up in the low 80s, and Fordham ended up in the high 80s.

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This would be a great problem set for a HS statistics class. “Identify all the ways that this analysis is flawed”.

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What’s the alternative? Each ranking uses some sort of methodology to rank universities. What do parents use? Most seem to use closeness to home, cost/value, reputation, where friends are going, family experience, jobs that family/friends got from schools.

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You don’t need a rank. You can think in terms of “fits my kids needs” vs. “doesn’t fit my kids needs”.

One of my kids wasn’t interested in any U that didn’t have both physics and engineering. OK- easy knock outs. One of my kids only wanted urban, wanted a place where not knowing what you were interested in studying was supported and where you wouldn’t be forced to declare a major ahead of time.

Really not rocket science. What we found the rankings helpful for was in logging in a college we didn’t know much about… “Hey, guidance counselor suggested University of Peaches and Cream. We don’t know anyone who went there- but look-- its History department is in the top 20 for its strength in Colonial and Early American history- it’s an hour away from grandmas, maybe we should visit it next time we go down there”.

Is it helpful to have these inane CC arguments about Princeton vs. Stanford? or why does Villanova rank behind BC when “everyone” knows that BC is a better school?

I’d argue these discussions don’t help parents or kids who come on here looking for actual information.

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Just musing…
Fascinating that the two #9 spots manage to get there despite almost all of their individual rankings being noticeably worse, except for one, or two.