These are the best colleges in the U.S. for 2022, according to Pittsburgh-based Niche

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh-based college ranking and review website Niche has released its annual lineup of the best colleges in the country for 2022, and local universities took home high placement among the more than 4,100 colleges and universities analyzed.

For its methodology, Niche combines data points from sources like the U.S. Department of Education with reviews and ratings from current students, alumni and parents to weigh metrics such as academic, campus and the overall value of the financial investment of attending each college, among others factors.

New this year, however, was the devaluing of the weight placed on standardized test scores from the providers of the SAT and ACT. Niche said it cut that metric by 50% due to several factors including the “acknowledgment of socioeconomic and racial disparities perpetuated by standardized tests,” challenges brought upon by the pandemic in making appointments to test in-person for the exams and a rise in the number of institutions that have adopted test-optional policies, which Niche said was the case for nearly 1,000 of the institutions it analyzed.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in at the No. 1 spot on Niche’s Best Colleges list followed by nearby No. 2 Harvard University and No. 3 Bay Area, California-based Stanford University. Yale University and Princeton University rounded out the top five rankings, respectively.

Carnegie Mellon University ranked the highest out of the region’s schools featured among the top 300 in the country, coming in at spot No. 21