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People chilling in the sun on a beautiful day Credit: Amiya Chopra , Amiya Chopra


Following a series of substantial changes to the rankings methodology, Penn finished in a three-way tie with Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for seventh place on the annual U.S. News and World Report list of the nation’s top colleges, released late Monday night.

Penn’s performance in the 2014 rankings is on par with the University’s placement last year, when it tied with Duke for eighth. In the 2012 version of the rankings, released in the fall of 2011, the University finished in a five-way tie for fifth place.

Like last year, the Wharton School finished with the top undergraduate business program in the country.

Princeton University took sole possession of the top spot in this year’s rankings; last year, it shared first place with Harvard University.

Six of the eight Ivy League institutions placed in the top 10 this year. Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia universities finished first through fourth, respectively. Dartmouth College and Brown and Cornell universities finished 10th, 14th and 16th, respectively.

U.S. News announced last week that it had made several notable changes to how it calculated this year’s rankings. The 2014 list, for example, deemphasized factors like high-school class standing and paid more attention to things like graduation rate performance.

Related: College rankings spark debate

“Penn benefits from being in that top group,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in an interview Monday afternoon. “In the imagination of people, U.S. News is probably still the [ranking] that they anticipate and that captures the imagination a bit more than any other.”

The U.S. News rankings generally do not change dramatically from year to year, but it is clear that they influence some Penn applicants’ perception of the University, Furda said.

“These things do keep me up at night,” he said of the rankings.

Staff reporter Jeremy Jick contributed reporting to this article.

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