Report names best colleges in America

High school students, get ready.

The latest U.S. News <><><><><><><><><><><><> <><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> <><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>& World Report college rankings dropped Monday and they’re sure to put high school students — and more so, their parents — in a frenzy as a href=”” target=”_blank”they prepare/a to apply to a href=”” target=”_blank”colleges this autumn/a./ppThe latest release marks the 35th edition of the Best Colleges ranking, and it’s a href=”″ target=”_blank”the first time/a schools in Puerto Rico, Guam and other US territories are included./ppThe usual suspects make up the list. Ivy Leagues and other big-name private schools sit pretty at the top, complemented by a spattering of elite public schools and smaller liberal arts colleges rounding out the top 50./ppstrongAre these rankings actually relevant?/strong/ppBut not everyone thinks these rankings actually matter. Forbes, for one, published a piece a href=”″ target=”_blank”articulating what’s wrong with the list/a — arguing that the data is too easily falsified and the indicators are irrelevant to what makes a school worthy. Then again, Forbes publishes its own college ranking list every year, too./ppForbes isn’t the only one against the rankings. In a 2012 opinion piece for CNN, former George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg a href=”” target=”_blank”dismissed the rankings/a, saying they don’t “begin to express the quality, comprehensiveness and special character of the more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the country.”/ppThe rankings create a national obsession, pushing the false belief that if a student doesn’t get into a select school, which is typically accompanied by a high price tag, then “life will never be worth living,” Trachtenberg writes. He also discusses the ways in which schools can falsify their data, which Forbes also points out./ppAnd they’re not wrong./ppIn May, seven years after Trachtenberg wrote his piece, it was revealed that the University of Oklahoma gave a href=”” target=”_blank””inflated” data /aon its alumni giving rates for 20 years in an effort to improve its ranking. Alumni giving, an indicator used by U.S. News to determine a school’s rank, is weighted at 5%./ppEven before Oklahoma, Claremont McKenna College in California a href=”” target=”_blank”submitted false SAT scores/a for six years. In 2012, when the news broke, the school was ranked the ninth-best liberal arts college by U.S. News./ppstrongThe rankings you’ve been waiting for/strong/ppOh right, the reason you are actually reading this article./ppHere are the top 15 schools, according to U.S. News. Whether or not these numbers actually matter, though, is up to you./ppFor the full list,a href=”” target=”_blank” visit their website/a./pp1. Princeton University/pp2. Harvard University/pp3. Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University (tie)/pp6. Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania (tie)/pp9. Northwestern University/pp10. Duke University and Johns Hopkins University (tie)/pp12. California Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College (tie)/pp14. Brown University/pp15. University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University (tie)/p