higher education

The Top 5 National Universities of 2022, According to U.S. News—and What It Takes to Get in

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On Monday, U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of the best colleges and universities in the country. 

U.S. News calculates its ranking based on six categories which are each weighted differently: student outcomes (40%), faculty resources (20%), expert opinion (20%), financial resources (10%), student excellence (7%) and alumni giving (3%).

U.S. News made a slight change to its methodology this year to account for changes in standardized testing requirements. Previously, if less than 75% of entering students at a given school submitted standardized testing scores, U.S. News would discount the significance of standardized testing scores in the overall ranking of the school by 15%. This year, because so many schools adopted test-optional policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. News lowered the threshold to 50%. 

This year's top universities share many things in common. They are all prestigious schools with large endowments and four of the top five are members of the Ivy League. They are all also incredibly difficult to get into, with admitted students boasting strong high school records and high standardized test scores.

Princeton University maintained its spot as the highest-ranked university in the country due in part to a student-to-faculty ratio of just four students for every one faculty member as well as a strong student retention rate. An estimated 98% of Princeton students graduate within six years and importantly, low-income Princeton students who receive Pell Grants also graduate at the same rate.  

During the most recent admissions season, Princeton offered admission to 1,498 students for the Class of 2025, including 22% who will be first-generation college students, an increase from 17% last year.

Here are the top 5 universities of 2022, according to U.S. News — and what it takes to get in. 

1. Princeton University

Blair Hall at Princeton University
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Blair Hall at Princeton University

Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Average SAT score: 1450-1570

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 89%

Acceptance rate: 6%

2. Columbia University (tie)

Columbia University
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Columbia University

Location: New York City, New York

Average SAT score: 1470-1570

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 96%

Acceptance rate: 6%

2. Harvard University (tie)

Widener Library at Harvard University
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Widener Library at Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1460-1580

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 94%

Acceptance rate: 5%

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (tie)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1510-1580

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 100%

Acceptance rate: 7%

5. Yale University

Yale University
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Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1460-1580

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 94%

Acceptance rate: 7%

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