The Best Colleges ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The ranking compares more than 1,000 top colleges and universities in the U.S.

10. University of Pennsylvania

A non-mover at 19th globally, the University of Pennsylvania has climbed into the top 10 in the US this year, due to Johns Hopkins University falling four places to 21st. It performs particularly well for its ratio of students to faculty members, one of the six indicators used to compile the ranking, scoring 100 out of 100 and ranking 15th in the world.

9. Columbia University

Up two places this year to 16th in the world, Columbia University also achieves a perfect score of 100 for its student/faculty ratio. Columbia was established in 1754 and has produced many notable alumni, including three US presidents: Barack Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt.

8. Yale University

Ranked 15th in the world this year, Yale University is known for its highly selective law school. Yale was established in 1701 and awarded the first PhD in the US in 1861. It’s ranked fifth in the world for its student/faculty ratio and ninth for its reputation among academics.

7. Cornell University

A non-mover at 14th this year, Cornell University is based in Ithaca, New York. It was the first university in the US to award a veterinary medicine degree and is currently ranked second in the world for veterinary science in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

6. Princeton University

As with Cornell and the four universities above it, there’s no movement from Princeton University in this year’s ranking, as it continues to be the 13th best university in the world. One of the country’s oldest universities (founded in 1746), Princeton is considered especially prestigious for the arts and humanities, a broad subject area for which its ranked seventh in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

5. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago continues to hold down a place in the global top 10 this year, achieving its highest score for its reputation among academics. Established in 1890, the university is known for its strong focus on research. For example, the university’s physics department is known for developing the world’s first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction.

4. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is the first of four US universities which remain firmly lodged as the world’s top four academic institutions for another year. Known as a leading tech school, Caltech is located in the city of Pasadena, California and is the smallest university in the US top 10.

It’s ranked fifth in the world for the citations per faculty, a measure of research impact. This is actually a drop of one place since last year, making Caltech one of the 118 US universities to see their rank for this indicator drop, suggesting the US is losing its dominance in the worlds of research and academic writing.

3. Harvard University

Harvard University retains its position of third in the QS World University Rankings this year. The oldest university in the country, dating back to 1636, Harvard has a large, residential campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is well respected in a broad range of fields, including law, business and medicine.

2. Stanford University

Continuing to rank second in both the QS World University Rankings and the US this year is Stanford University. Based in the center of Silicon Valley in California, Stanford is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and business courses. Its alumni include many successful entrepreneurs such as the founders or co-founders of Netflix, YouTube, WhatsApp and Google.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

It really couldn’t be anyone else, could it? For a record-breaking seventh consecutive year, MIT has been crowned the best university in the world, helped by the fact it scores a perfect 100 for four of the six indicators used to compile the ranking. No other institution manages this.

MIT also achieves a world-leading score for citations per faculty and performs impressively well for its international student ratio.

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