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USC again beats UCLA in college rankings

September 13, 2011 |  1:24 pm

Photo: C.L. Max Nikia, President of the University of Southern California. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times For the second straight year, USC has topped crosstown rival UCLA in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of colleges. In the rankings released Tuesday, the Los Angeles schools stayed in the same position as in last year’s survey:  USC tied for 23rd with Carnegie Mellon, and UCLA was 25th, tied with the University of Virginia and Wake Forest.

Until last year, UCLA had beaten USC every year since the magazine began its controversial rankings of colleges in 1983.

On the magazine's list of national universities, Harvard and Princeton tied for first place this year, followed by Yale, Columbia and a five-way tie for fifth place among Caltech, Stanford, MIT, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. UC Berkeley was judged the nation's top public university, ranked 21st overall.

Despite recent budget woes, the University of California system dominated the listings for public schools. After UC Berkeley, UCLA was in a tie with the University of Virginia for second, UC San Diego was eighth, UC Davis was ninth and UC Santa Barbara shared the 10th spot with the universities of Washington and Wisconsin. UC Irvine tied for 13th among state schools with the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Penn State.

Campuses in the Claremont Colleges consortium again did very well in the listings of national liberal arts colleges. Pomona College was fourth, Claremont McKenna was ninth and Harvey Mudd was 18th. Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore colleges were ranked at the top of that category.

The magazine's rankings rely partly on such areas as the size of colleges' financial endowments and the average SAT scores of incoming students. Many academics dismiss college listings  as unscientific and misleading.

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: USC President C.L. Max Nikias.  Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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