Question: Some colleges boast that they are "3rd in the world" or "1st in the nation" for such and such a program. How can I verify these claims, and how can I see who else is on the list?

There is no official worldwide list of the best academic programs .... or the best anything ... when it comes to college quality. Most references to school rankings stem from US News and World Report's annual "America's Best Colleges" issue. If you read US News, you can find potentially helpful statistics that compare class sizes, retention rates, average SAT scores, etc. But don't take the rankings hierarchy as gospel truth. Make your OWN assessments of which schools are right for you.

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