Williams is the number 1 liberal arts college in the latest US News ranking. (Hat tip to Jeff.)

Williams College sits alone atop U.S. News’s ranking of liberal arts colleges.

The 27th annual U.S. News rankings, which are set to be released officially on Aug. 17, come less than a week after Forbes magazine released its third annual college rankings. Princeton, which was ranked first in Forbes’s inaugural rankings in 2008, took second place behind Williams this year, while Harvard took eighth.

Both U.S. News and Forbes consider graduation rates in formulating their rankings. U.S. News also considers criteria such as class size, average SAT scores and alumni giving rates. Forbes accounts for how many alumni are listed in the 2008 “Who’s Who in America” register, results from ratemyprofessors.com and national award rates for students and faculty. This year, U.S. News also instituted several changes in its ranking methodology, incorporating ratings by high school counselors and placing a greater emphasis on graduation rate.

We were first last year as well. My previous comments apply:

It is nice to see Williams at #1. Whatever complaints you may have about the methodology behind the ranking, there is no doubt that being #1 has a non-trivial impact on applications and yield, especially for international students. Williams should continue to, within reason, game the system by, for example, capping class sections at the magic cut-offs that US News uses.

There is a great senior thesis to be written about the rankings, similar to this article on the US News law school rankings. If you write such a thesis, hundreds of people around the country will read it.

More details once the numbers are available.

UPDATE: It is official. Remember: Always believe content from EphBlog . . .

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