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by Vault Education Editors | March 10, 2010


U.S. News & World Report, the king of school rankings, has created a list of the Most Popular Colleges. The magazine ranked schools based on their yield (the number of accepted students who choose to attend) rather than the number of applications overall. Though this methodology favors self-selective institutions (i.e., schools that attract a particular type of student who will accept if he/she is admitted--probably the best examples of what I mean are the military academies), yield is a fairly good indicator of popularity.

Most Popular CollegesThe magazine breaks the most popular schools down by national universities and liberal arts colleges/service academies. I've combined the two lists below to offer a full, national list of the 2010 Most Popular Colleges.

U.S. News found that the most popular schools fall into a number of categories.

  • Ivy League and other elite institutions
  • Top ranked state schools
  • Military/service academies
  • Universities and colleges with religious affiliations.

Interestingly, besides the first category, popularity does not depend on ranking. So although rank may have a negative effect on individual schools internally, they do not affect where students actually choose to matriculate. Should be good news for U.S. News critics.


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