Top Five Style Guide


The top five announcement from U.S. News & World Report is a tremendous milestone and one that should be celebrated and promoted broadly.

Below are best practices and guidelines to help you share our top five accomplishment that is in alignment with the university. These can also be applied to your individual college/departmental rankings.

For assistance with communicating the ranking, please contact Brittany Wise, director of communications for the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing. 

Using "top five" in Written Communications

Do not capitalize the “T” in top 10 unless it starts a sentence.
Example: Top-five stature for the University of Florida has been an institutional goal for many years.

Hyphenate when top five is used as a compound modifier. Otherwise, no hyphen.
Example; The University of Florida is a top-five public university.

Numeral or spelled out?
Always spelled out (AP Style). However, it is allowable to use a number in this manner – ‘No. 5’ per AP Style.


When referring to the U.S. News ranking, use the full and correct name: the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking. Within that ranking is the list of Top Public Schools (note capitalization).

Note that the U.S. News rankings released in September 2022 are referred to as the 2023 rankings.

Examples of acceptable usage:
“UF is ranked No. 5 on the 2023 U.S. News & World Report list of Top Public Schools.”

“UF is one of the top five best public universities in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings.”
“U.S. News & World Report lists the University of Florida as one of the top five best public universities in its 2023 list of Best Colleges.”

Context and audience should guide you on how and when to use the phrase “top five.” In most cases, “top five” will refer specifically to the U.S. News & World Report ranking. However, UF also places in the top 10 in several other rankings; for that reason, “top five” can be used more generically.

“UF is widely regarded as one of the top five best public research universities in the country.”
“The University of Florida is a top-five institution.”

On social media, the U.S. News hashtag is #BestColleges. For more information for UF specific hashtags, please visit the social media best practices page.


Download the Top 5 Toolkit

Primary Messaging

Articulates why the University of Florida is ranked as a top 5 National Public University and what this means for key audiences: 

  • UF offers a top-ranking university experience. 
  • UF provides affordable access to an excellent education and a great return on investment. 
  • This ranking reinforces UF’s rise in the rankings and ongoing excellence. It strengthens Florida’s position as the No. 1 state in the country for higher education. 
  • It underscores UF’s rightful prominence on the national and international stage and aligns with other key metrics. The combined effect will continue to strengthen the university’s performance in: 
    • Recruiting and retaining the best faculty, staff and students 
    • Advancing the levels of research funding and expenditures 
    • Creating vital research partnerships with other educational institutions, as well as corporations and foundations   
    • Giving rise to philanthropic partnerships and increasing support 
    • Strengthening the university’s flagship position and impact within the State of Florida 
    • Advancing the university’ national and international reputation 
  • UF’s rise in the rankings is reflective of its continual, rapid strengthening in teaching, learning and research performance—smaller class sizes, consistently high graduation and retention rates, and increased value of each student’s degree after graduation—all of which in turn helps Florida be viewed as a national leader. 
  • Recognition/gratitude toward the many stakeholders who contributed to this momentum including faculty, staff, students, alumni/donors, state, the community.  


Secondary Messaging

These bona fides demonstrate what UF has done/ is doing to raise its profile and what this means for key stakeholders:  

  • Ranked as one of the most innovative universities in the nation by U.S. News. 
  • Ranked as one of the top universities for undergraduate research. 
  • UF is ranked #4 among all universities, public and private, for student outcomes. It is tied with UCLA, UC Berkley, and MIT on this ranking, which combines measures related to enrolling, retaining and graduating students from diverse background with manageable debt.  
  • UF’s continuing strength in the USNWR public university rankings complements a parallel rise in online and other key rankings. For example, UF has the #1 online undergraduate bachelor’s degree program. 
  • Despite being one of the largest universities in the United States, UF offers small classes with access to nationally and internationally renowned faculty.