West Point Leads Forbes’ Best Colleges in America List

Photo via Flickr user Chet Gordon.

Photo via Flickr user Chet Gordon.

Known for making lists of the most influential and lucrative businesses and executives in the country, this list by the publication is only its second turn into academia. This week Forbes announced its second-annual list of America’s Best Colleges. Number one is a bit of a surprise, one we don’t normally see at the top of this kind of list. While there is no ivy on its walls, they are lined with tradition.

This year, Forbes named West Point as the number one college in America. Otherwise known as the U.S. Military Academy, this institution doesn’t allow alcohol, has an 11:30 p.m. curfew, requires that its students shine their shoes, and that they march to class. While those might seem like downers for traditional college students, West Point cadets pay no tuition and incur no debt, all the while receiving a top-notch education. Their only fee is to serve our nation upon graduation.

Forbes goes on to explain how it is possible that West Point beat the usual Ivy League pack. Their methodology explains that they wanted to know what was important to students, with things like affordability, how soon they’ll graduate, and job placement weighing heavily. Eighty-percent of its students graduate in four years and they are fourth place in Rhodes scholars. Classes are small, accommodating no more than 18 students at a time.college rankings

One of the biggest appeals is that the U.S. Army pays the tab for each cadet. Not only do they get away without paying tuition, but they receive an $895 monthly stipend. Upon graduation, cadets join the military as second lieutenants with a starting salary of $69,000. They are required to serve five years active and three years inactive.

Following behind West Point on Forbes’ list, and being no less impressive, are:

2. Princeton University
3. California Institute of Technology
4. Williams College
5. Harvard University
6. Wellesley College
7. U.S. Air Force Academy
8. Amherst College
9. Yale University
10. Stanford University

See the other 600 schools and learn more about their methodology at Forbes.

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