Stanford Tops New WSJ/THE US College Rankings | Top Universities

Stanford Tops New WSJ/THE US College Rankings

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Laura Bridgestock

Updated Apr 16, 2024



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Stanford University is at the top of the new Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, released today. According to an article published on the Wall Street Journal website, Stanford’s success is due to its “deep pockets, intellectually engaged students and solid student outcomes”. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Colombia University complete the top three, and few are likely to be surprised by any entries in the top 10, which is entirely composed of private institutions.

Indeed, the top 10 of this new US college ranking is almost identical in composition (though not in order) to the latest Best National Universities ranking from US News and World Report, and also to the top 10 US entries in the QS World University Rankings®. Exceptions include the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University, neither of which makes the WSJ/THE top 10.


Top 10 US Colleges

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

US News and World Report – Best National Universities 2017

QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017 – Top US Universities

1. Stanford University

1. Princeton University

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2. Harvard University

2. Stanford University

3. Columbia University

3. University of Chicago

3. Harvard University

4. University of Pennsylvania

4. Yale University

4. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

5. Yale University

5. Columbia University

5. University of Chicago

6. Harvard University

6. Stanford University

6. Princeton University

7. Duke University

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

7. Yale University

8. Princeton University

8. Duke University

8. Cornell University

9. Cornell University

9. University of Pennsylvania

9. Johns Hopkins University

10. California Institute of Technology

10. Johns Hopkins University

10. University of Pennsylvania


How is the WSJ/THE College Rankings compiled?

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings is based on 15 performance metrics, grouped into four categories: resources, outcomes, engagement and environment. Over 1,000 institutions are featured, though the full results can only be accessed by subscribing to the Wall Street Journal.

1. Resources (30% of overall score)

This category assesses spending on teaching per student (11%), ratio of students to faculty members (11%), and the number of published research papers per faculty member (8%).

2. Engagement (20%)

Engagement scores are mainly based on a survey of US college and university students. Responses to this survey are converted into scores for the quality of learning (7%), interaction with others (4%), and whether students would recommend the institution (6%). The number of different subjects taught is also considered (3%).

3. Outcomes (40%)

This section draws on graduation rates (11%), final salary (12%), ability to repay student debt (7%) and the academic reputation of the college (10%).

4. Environment (10%)

The environment on campus is assessed by considering the proportion of international students (2%), racial and ethnic diversity (3%), students from lower-income families (2%) and diversity of faculty members (3%).

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