In most college rankings, California colleges are among the leading institutions in the United States, with some colleges, such as Stanford, in the top five in the country. In many cases, however, the best college can be subjective because it is highly dependent on what a student wishes to study.
The methods used to evaluate colleges can also be different, with different vetting methods producing different results. Williams College has been rated the best in some lists, whereas others have awarded the highest place to Princeton University.
U.S. News uses a two-pillar system, dividing institutions by their overall focus as specified in the Carnegie Classification, a system that breaks down and identifies each educational institution by type.
Colleges and institutions are generally broken down into National Liberal Arts institutions, National Universities, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges. These categories are often subdivided further.
On most lists, no one state dominates the highest spots, with institutions from Massachusetts (Harvard), New Jersey (Princeton) and Connecticut (Yale) taking top billing.
Some of the highest ranking colleges in California include Promona College and the California Institute of Technology, both of which are ranked in the top 10 on a number of different educational ranking lists.