published : 2023-09-07

Princeton, MIT, Yale Take Top Spots on Annual WSJ College Rankings

The Wall Street Journal factored in student experiences, social mobility, and salary impacts

Princeton University's iconic Buyers Hall, taken with a Nikon D850.

The Wall Street Journal and College Pulse released their 2024 list of the best colleges in the U.S., ranking Princeton, MIT, and Yale in the top three spots.

The rankings were based on factors such as student experiences, social mobility, and salary impacts.

Princeton received a grade of 91.6, followed closely by MIT with 90.4 and Yale with 90.3.

The top five names on the WSJ/College Pulse 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. list were household names like Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale University, Stanford University, and Columbia University.

A group of students walking across the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, taken with a Canon EOS R.

WSJ and College Pulse ranked the universities by factoring in student experiences, social mobility, and salary impacts.

The rankings aimed to answer two practical and measurable questions for each school: How much will the college improve its students’ chances of graduating on time? And how much will it improve the salaries they earn after receiving their diplomas?

The new methodology heavily weighed students' outcomes, with 70 percent of the score based on projected median salary for graduates.

Twenty percent of each school's score was determined by the learning environment, which included learning opportunities and student satisfaction with campus facilities.

Yale University's Vanderbilt Hall standing proudly in New Haven, Connecticut, taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III.

The remaining 10 percent accounted for diversity, including student satisfaction with opportunities to interact with people from different backgrounds.

Notably, not every Ivy League school or prestigious school made it to the top 20 colleges, with Brown University and Johns Hopkins University ranking lower than expected at Nos. 67 and 99 respectively.

WSJ has been publishing college rankings since 2016 and collaborated with College Pulse this year to rank 400 schools, using statistical data and a survey of more than 60,000 current students and recent graduates.

The rankings aim to provide valuable insights for prospective students in their college selection process.