In a surprising shake-up, U.S. News has tumbled eight spots in this year’s edition of our annual Super-Official College-Rankings Rankings. Some analysts attributed the fall to the magazine’s reputational factors, while frustrated U.S. News supporters questioned our methodology, which is in fact almost entirely arbitrary. Princeton Review, meanwhile, captured the top spot once again on the strength of a system that grades colleges according to key metrics like “Happiest Students,” “Financial Aid Not So Great,” and “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.” But enough with the boring words and sentences—let’s get to the numbers already! Herewith, our very official, fully authoritative, top-15 college rankings systems for 2014*:
8. The Gourman Report (last updated in 1997)
9. Informal survey of your friends
11. Throwing darts at a dartboard
13. Your father’s strong opinions based on his memories of where he and his buddies went to school 32 years ago
14. U.S. News
Correction, Sept. 10, 2013: This post initially referred to the Super-Official College-Rankings Rankings as a “top-16” list. Only 15 rankings systems were strong enough to make the cut, with Young America’s Foundation’s list of the Top Conservative Colleges falling just short.