We never put much stock into the annual ranking of colleges and universities -- by U.S. News & World Report, or otherwise. The beauty contest slash marketing push, oft times leaving students and their parents baffled, bewildered and blindsided, really doesn't mean all that much.

Certainly, it sells magazines and makes for sensational headlines, but such jockeying for first place between the likes of Harvard and Princeton will have little, if any, bearing on where the majority of college-bound students will call home for, perhaps, the most significant four years of their lives.

Still, the public craves to know "who tops the list," and we are obliged to give you -- along with that proverbial grain of salt -- the inside track.

And so, without further ado, here are the 2012 college rankings. Take them for what they are worth. Then, find the college that is "best" for you -- which may, or may not, be on this exalted and highly overrated list.
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For more on The College Whisperer's thoughts on college rankings, check out Rank and File. [This post first appeared on our blog in 2010. Links have been updated for 2012 rankings.]

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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