Historical US College Rankings

This Line Graph represents US college rankings from 1988 to 2020. Top colleges have the best ranking. Hover over a line to see the schools historical ranking highlighted.

Information and Inspiration

This Line Graph was inspired on the recent news of college rankings in the United States for 2020. Since I could not find a detailed graph that showed the historical rankings to compare the Universities throughout the years I decided to make my own.

The data starts in 1983 and it is biennial until 1988. The rankings from 1983 until 2008 do not include all the universities. Only Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, California at Berkley, Chicago, Michigan at Ann Arbor, Cornell, Illinois at URbana-Champaign, MIT, Dartmouth, Caltec, Carnegie Mellon, And U. of Wisconsin at Madison have the complete ranking from 1983. The ranking is complete since 2008. Some university rankings go below the number of universities shown. This is because not all universities are included, and at some point these universities outrank the ones in this list.

The rankings of institutions in higher education are ordered on the basis of a combination of various factors. The factors covered in this ranking include success at graduation or outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, and student excellence. For more information read the Methodology.


The historical data was obtained from Public University Honors. It includes Public and Private Universities. The rankings themselves come from US News.

This is the second version of this ranking. Due to the comments received on Reddit, the design was ubdated using Cale Tilford’s Block code.

I hope this rank will help you decide which school you want to go to.

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.

Graph of historical ranking of US universities