And you thought it was hard to get into Amherst? Try the U.S. Naval Academy. U.S. News and World Report released today its annual rankings of universities and colleges in America, and it says that the Annapolis institution is tougher to get into than the top colleges.
More important for the Naval Academy, perhaps, is that it beat out the Army and Air Force academies in the first rankings to include the service academies.
The Naval Academy was ranked 20th among liberal arts colleges in the country, and the U.S. Military Academy in New York came in 22nd. Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore were the top three. However, according to the report, the Naval Academy's acceptance rate, 14 percent, is lower than Amherst's, which is 19 percent.
The Johns Hopkins University, which for years has been in the top 20, was ranked 14th this year, in a different category -- that of best national universities. The University of Maryland, College Park came in 54th in that category this year.
Leading the way in the national university category were Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford.
The rankings have become more controversial in the past several years, as some colleges balked at providing the data to U.S. News and World Report. Nevertheless, the rankings do carry weight, said Dennis O'Shea, spokesman for Hopkins.
"I think it has always been the case that colleges and universities have complained that ranking colleges make the task of looking for college more mathematical than it is," he said.
While the rankings give some good information to parents and students, O'Shea said, "It is not the right thing to do to go down the list and say the best school I can get into is the one I should go to."
Instead, he said, students should look for the right fit in a school.
The magazine made changes this year in calculating how colleges and universities rank, such as including the service firstname.lastname@example.org