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The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse Best Colleges ranked Penn No. 7 based on how universities prepare their students for post-grad, rather than using traditional metrics. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn ranked No. 7 in this year’s The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. list

Rather than measuring the schools' performances in “traditional metrics” such as wealth and reputation, this year's rankings focused on how the colleges contribute to improving the trajectories of their students’ careers, according to The Journal. In the 2022 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Best Colleges list, Penn ranked No. 12. 

Princeton topped the 2024 list, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University. Columbia University and Harvard University were ranked No. 5 and 6, respectively. Dartmouth College was ranked No. 21, Cornell University was ranked No. 24, and Brown University was ranked No. 67.

Rankings were based on student outcomes, learning environment, and diversity, weighted at 70%, 20%, and 10%, respectively. This year’s list emphasized comparing the outcomes of each college’s graduates in indicators such as graduation rates and graduate salaries.

“If you want to prioritize learning environment and career preparation, and choose the college that will do most to make sure you graduate and maximize your earnings, that’s the focus of this ranking,” The Journal’s rankings editor Harry Carr wrote. “For students, we believe this ranking will help them identify which colleges will do the most to help them graduate and make more money.”

The survey also collected data on student experience and social mobility. Penn ranked No. 264 in student experience, which was measured by students' opinions of student life and diversity, learning opportunities, career preparation, dining halls, and sports facilities. 

For social mobility, Penn ranked No. 236. The social mobility metric featured universities that admitted a high proportion of students from low-income families while maintaining high graduation rates and graduate salaries at a lower cost of attendance. 

Penn was also ranked No. 7 in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report ranking of American universities, moving up one spot from last year, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported