Cornell also #53 among national liberal arts colleges in the high school counselor rankings, which are derived from a survey of guidance counselors from a nationwide sampling of public high schools in the 2013 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. Again, I think that's down a little from past years. And of particular interest to me, who was accepted despite a "nonstratospheric transcript," it was #30 in the "A-plus Schools for B Students" list. I know the block plan helped me quite a lot in terms of focus and follow-through; I would imagine it does the same for many others.
Regardless of whether we've dropped in the rankings or not, I think we did pretty well for a small school in Iowa. A lot of people perceive an east coast bias in the U.S. news rankings. I don't know if there really is such a bias, but having lived there, I have no doubt that if east coasters are even slightly over-represented among the people whose opinions are solicited for the rankings, Midwestern colleges and public universities anywhere will suffer as a result.