But not everyone thinks these rankings actually matter. Forbes, for one, published a piece of articulating what's wrong with the list ̵
1; arguing that the data is too easily falsified and the indicators used are irrelevant to what makes a school worthy. Then again, Forbes publishes their own college ranking list every year, too.
Forbes isn't the only one against the rankings. In a 2012 opinion piece for CNN, former George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg dismissed the rankings, saying they did not "begin to express the quality, comprehensiveness and special character of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the country."  The rankings create a national obsession, pushing the false belief that if a student does not 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 ways in which schools can falsify their data, which Forbes also points out.
And they're not wrong.
In May, seven years after Trachtenberg wrote his piece, it was revealed that the University of Oklahoma had given "inflated" data to its alumni giving rates for twenty years, in an effort to improve their ranking. Alumni giving, an indicator used by the U.S.S. News to detemine a school's rank, is weighted at 5%.
Even before Oklahoma, Claremont McKenna College in California submitted false SAT scores for six years. In 2012, when the news broke, the school was ranked the ninth-best liberal arts college by the U.S.S. News.
The rankings you've been waiting for
Oh right, the reason you actually clicked on this article.
Here are the top 15 schools, according to the U.S.S. News. Whether or not these numbers actually matter, though, is up to you.
For the full list, go here.
1. Princeton University
2. Harvard University
3. Columbia University
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Yale University
6. Stanford University
7. University of Chicago
8. University of Pennsylvania
9. Northwestern University
10. Duke University and Johns Hopkins University
12. California Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College
14. Brown University
15. University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University