It's a Tie for UCLA, USC in Best Colleges Rankings

UCLA and USC also were tied in last year's US News and World Report National University Rankings

The California Institute of Technology, UCLA and USC are ranked among the top-25 colleges in the United States in US News & World Report's annual National University Rankings.

The list published Tuesday ranks Caltech in Pasadena at No. 10. The report notes Caltech's top graduate programs, excellent science and engineering studies, and research that includes grants from such institutions as NASA.

It also mentions Caltech's "strong tradition of pranking" with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ranked No. 7.

UCLA and USC are tied at No. 23. The two Los Angeles schools were tied at 24th with Virginia  last year.

The report summary credits UCLA for its 800 student organizations and a long list of highly ranked programs, including a "prestigious" School of Theater, Film & Television. The summary includes some of UCLA's notable alumni, such as basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and actor Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy).

The report also points out UCLA's acclaimed men's and women's water polo teams, and the allure of watching the Bruins football team on Saturdays at the Rose Bowl.

As for USC, the report highlights the institution's more than 700 on-campus student organizations and a "legendary football program" -- which actually dropped out of the top 25 in this week's AP and USA Today polls. It also mentions USC's highly respected schools of business, education, engineering, law, medicine, journalism and social work.

The school offers a "highly esteemed" School of Cinematic Arts, according to the summary. Notable Trojans mentioned in the summary include directors Judd Apatow and George Lucas.

Other Southern California schools in the top 100 include the University of California San Diego (39), University of California Santa Barbara (41), University of California Irvine (49) and Pepperdine University in Malibu (57).

Princeton University in New Jersey topped the list. Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University and Stanford  rounded out the top five.

The top 10 schools are the same as last year, but not in the same order.

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