U.S. News & World Report's list of best colleges for 2015 revealed

Big Exposure, Big Questions for Latest College Rankings

U.S. News & World Report released the 30th edition of its flagship Best Colleges rankings on September 9th, which measure academic excellence. The 2015 edition of Best Colleges includes data on nearly 1,800 schools nationwide to help parents and students evaluate their options. Schools are ranked on up to 16 measures of academic excellence.

Princeton University grabs top honors for the second year in a row for Best National Universities category. For the 12th year in a row, Williams College has been recognized for the Best of National Liberal Art Colleges. University of California-Berkeley holds onto its spot as the Top Public School among National Universities.

Did your school make the list?

2015 Best Colleges
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U.S. News & World Report's list of best colleges for 2015 revealed
Best National Universities : # 1 -  Princeton University (NJ)
Best National Universities: # 2 - Harvard University (MA)
Best National Universities: # 3 - Yale University (CT)
Best National Universities: # 4 - Columbia University (NY)
Best National Universities: # 5 - Stanford University (CA)
Best National Universities:  #6 - University of Chicago (IL)
Best National Universities: # 7 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Best National Universities: # 8 - Duke University (NC)

Best National Universities: # 9 -  University of Pennsylvania
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges :  # 1 - Williams College (MA)

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges :  # 2 - Amherst College (MA)

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges : # 3 - Swarthmore College (PA)
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges : # 4 - Wellesley College (MA)
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges : # 8 - Carleton College (MN)
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges : # 9 Claremont McKenna College (CA)
Best National Liberal Arts Colleges : # 10 - Haverford College (PA)

The ranking certainly will make Princeton, which advertises itself as the fourth oldest college in the U.S., all that more prestigious and - frankly - exclusive.

The university's website says this year's high school graduating seniors with dreams of heading to New Jersey next year can expect to pay more than $43,000 in tuition for the 2015-2016 school year. Room, board and other costs bump you up another $18,000 to a total yearly expense of about $61,000.

As some headlines noted, the rankings didn't provide many new faces to the world of academic prominence, and most movement up or down the list of top-tier schools was only by a place or two.

The benefits to being top dog like Williams College this year are very real. A 2008 study showed landing on U.S. News & World Report's front page for the rankings led to a significant uptick in the number and quality of applicants.

Vox has been much more blatantly critical, noting five universities have admitted to falsifying the data they sent to U.S. News & World Report.

*For the full list of rankings, visit http://www.usnews.com/colleges

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