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U.S. News & World Report releases 2011 top college rankings

Kristin Chessman is a freelance writer, editor and mom from Southern California with a passion for travel, fashion, Disney, the beach, Italian food and all-things celebrity. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinChessman.

2011 Best colleges

U.S. News & World Report recently released their “Best Colleges” 2011 rankings of national universities. Last year, Harvard and Princeton tied for top honors -- but only one ranked first this year. Find out which schools made the cut, plus, learn how to find the right college for your teen.

2011 Best College RaNkings

And the 2011 Best College ranking goes to…Harvard University! Last year, Harvard tied with Princeton University for the top spot in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges 2011 rankings. Harvard has topped the ranking for two of the last three years. Princeton fell to second, followed by Yale University, Columbia University and Stanford University, which tied with University of Pennsylvania for fifth.

Top 15 Best College rankings 2011

  1. Harvard University
  2. Princeton University
  3. Yale University
  4. Columbia University
  5. Stanford University
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7. California Institute of Technology
  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  9. Dartmouth College
  10. Duke University
  11. University of Chicago
  12. Northwestern University
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. Washington University in St. Louis
  15. Brown University

Check out the full list of national university rankings.

The report also compiled lists for other categories of schools, including schools that meet particular student needs. For instance, there's a list of the best schools for B students, in addition to rankings of the most diverse national universities.

For the second year in a row, Williams College in Massachusetts was named the nation's top-ranked national liberal arts college, ahead of Amherst College, also in Massachusetts. This category refers to schools that place a higher emphasis on undergraduate education.

As a sign of the economic times, U.S. News also compiled lists of schools offering the best value for your money. Rankings were based on the average cost of attending, relative to the school's academic ranking. The value lists are divided into the best value for national universities, and the best value for national liberal arts colleges.

Check out all of the rankings, broken down by category.

Find the right college for your teen

Once you and your teen have reviewed the 2011 rankings and honed in on your top schools, it's time to show them why they should want you! Though most colleges have basic admissions requirements in common, some expect more. Private colleges, for example, look closely at the kind of community they're building, which means they carefully consider school and community involvement. State schools, on the other hand, tend to rely on GPA and test scores.

Check out this article for more tips on helping your child ace their college application. Plus, don't miss this article on helping your child find the best college that fits their needs.

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