We've all seen the lists by U.S. News & World Report, Petersons, Kiplinger, Forbes, and other companies in the business of ranking colleges. I have my own picks for the best colleges, universities, public universities, business schools, and engineering schools. These rankings all have a certain value--they tend to represent schools that have strong reputations, lots of resources, high graduation rates, good value, and other notable features.
That said, no national ranking can tell you which college or university is the best match for you. Your interests, personality, talents, and career goals make any ranking have limited usefulness.
This article covers 15 features you should consider when choosing a college or university. The first, represented by Laura Reyome's drawing above of "Perfect University," is the attractiveness of the school itself. Appearances, of course, are superficial, but you want to go to a school that you are proud to attend. If your classes are held in a dilapidated building that smells like dead fish, the physical problems with the school could very well be a sign of more deep-rooted problems. A healthy school has the resources to maintain its facilities.