US News & World Report Rankings

Top National Universities

Top Liberal Arts Colleges

Top Master’s Universities (By Region)

Top Comprehensive Colleges (By Region)

National Survey of Student Engagement Annual Reports

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is one of the few surveys in the country that attempts to measure student learning – notably, the kind of student “engagement” in learning that results in a successful undergraduate experience. Launched by Dr. George Kuh of Indiana University in 1999 (with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), NSSE data provides a useful counterpoint to college rating/ranking systems that use proxies, rather than direct measures, to estimate student learning.

While NSSE does not report results by college, it can be instructive to view the total list of participating colleges: one might infer that these institutions are especially interested in or committed to student learning.

To view the complete report for a given year, click on the links below:




Note: In 2007, U.S. News & World Report began reporting NSSE data from individual colleges that were willing to release their data to U.S. News. This detailed NSSE information is extremely informative, and should prove helpful to students and families who want concrete information about the quality of the undergraduate experience at colleges and universities on their prospect lists. While NSSE surveys both freshmen and seniors at participating institutions, U.S. News reports only seniors’ responses; nonetheless, the responses reveal much about multiple dimensions of student learning.

To view the latest NSSE Survey results (as reported by US News) click on the link below:


Ivy League Regular and Early Acceptance Rates

Acceptance Rate*
Early Action or
Early Decision Rate*

Brown University (RI)
Columbia University (NY)
Cornell Unversity (NY)

Darmouth College (NH)
Harvard Univesity (MA)
University of Pennsylvania
Princeton University (NJ)
Yale University (CT)

* Fall 2006 Entering Class


Gifted and talented students

Are you or is a member of your family a high-ability student? The National Association for Gifted Children defines a gifted student as “someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression.” UCPS has helped many such students, whose needs for effective college planning differ in important ways from those of their peers. Just as gifted students require special classroom and home experiences if they are to optimally develop their unique combination of talents, motivation, and creativity, so too does their college planning process require special attention.

UCPS clients have a high rate of success in getting into top colleges. More importantly, we know how to help gifted students find the right match for their particular combination of talents and interests. You’ll benefit from our first-hand knowledge of college campuses, and our “behind the scenes” perspective on college quality, which includes methods of assessing highly ranked faculty and departments, undergraduate education, and potential opportunities for student engagement. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you!

(Note: For further information about gifted and talented education, check out the “Helpful Websites/Specialty Websites” portion of this section.)



Opportunities for young men and women to participate in college athletics have never been greater. If you’re a high school athlete and you hope to participate in an individual or team sport in college, Upstate College Planning Services can help you reach your goal. UCPS has first-hand knowledge of current and former elite athletes, D1 - D3 athletic programs, coaches, recruiting practices and NCAA eligibility guidelines. If you’re likely to be a recruited athlete, we can help you understand the recruiting process; if not, we can talk with you about non-varsity forms of participation, and show you how that, too, can be an asset to you in the college application process.

The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re an aspiring college athlete is that you won’t be able to play anywhere if you’re not admissible. Effective college planning trumps effective marketing every time. So, whether you need help understanding how to prepare yourself academically for the college admissions process, or want to know more about NCAA recruiting rules, amateur eligibility guidelines, financial aid, or registering with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse, give us a call today!

(Note: For further information pertaining to athletes, see the “Helpful Websites/Specialty Websites” portion of this section.)


Learning disabled students

If you’re a student or the parent of a student with a learning disability, you probably know that you’re not alone: estimates suggest that 15% of the U.S. population has some form of learning disability. You also know that, technical details aside, the bottom line about learning disabilities is that they create a gap between ability and performance. Bridging that gap is what effective educational practices are all about – and the same holds true for college admissions.

UCPS has helped numerous students with learning disabilities plan for and get admitted to college. Early planning and early college counseling are the keys to a successful experience. Too many learning disabled students find that their college options have been limited by freshman or sophomore year grades, course planning, or testing. We can put you on the right path, help you identify potential colleges that have strong student support services, and advise you about special programs at some campuses that give learning disabled students a second review. UCPS is committed to empowering learning disabled students. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you!

(Note: For further information about learning disabilities, see the “Helpful Websites/Specialty Websites” portion of this section.)


Canadian students

As noted by Macleans magazine, in its annual ranking of Canada’s best universities, “Where you go to university may make a significant difference in your life and future success. That you go will make an enormous difference.” The same holds true if you’re interested in attending a U.S. college or university. UCPS can help Canadian students learn more about U.S. colleges, entrance requirements, financial aid, and immigration and visa regulations. If you’re a prospective student-athlete, we can help ensure that you’re taking the number and kind of college preparatory courses necessary to meet NCAA eligibility guidelines, and advise you about recruiting and eligibility requirements.

Most importantly, we can help you understand the differences among U.S. colleges and universities, and find the right college for you. With thousands of college programs to choose from, and competition increasing for spots at America’s most selective schools, early and effective college planning will go a long way towards determining your success in the college admissions process. UCPS wants to be known as the Canadian-friendly U.S. college planning option. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you!


Financial Planning

Students and families who need assistance with college financial planning have come to the right place. During our “Getting Admitted” consultation, we’ll talk with you about financing a college education, assess the financial considerations involved in applying Early Decision, discuss the net costs of attending public vs. private colleges, review the aid packages typically offered by the colleges on your target list, and help you compare, evaluate, and if necessary, appeal the financial aid awards offered by your preferred institutions. We’ll also guide you to web sites and other sources of financial aid information, including scholarships and loans.

If you need more detailed advice about investing in your son or daughter’s education, we’ll refer you to financial planning professionals whom we know and respect. Or, if you’re looking for tax-advantaged savings programs, UCPS cooperates with, which specializes in helping families understand and utilize state 529 savings plans. Whether your family needs help with college expenses, or you simply want to take advantage of the best methods available for saving or paying for college, give us a call today!


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