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 2021 are referred to as the 2022 rankings.

Examples of acceptable usage:
“UF is ranked No. 5 on the 2022 U.S. News & World Report list of Top Public Schools.”

“UF is one of the top five best public universities in the 2022 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 2022 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.”

US News top five talking points

When communicating with your respective audiences about UF’s top five ranking, the following information and talking points may be useful:

– The University of Florida is a top-five public research university, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges undergraduate rankings.
– UF has risen one place since last year and 20 places since 2012.
– UF is the highest-ranked university in Florida.
– UF is the highest-ranked university in Florida and in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

What it means:

– For our students, attending a top-five public university means their degrees will be worth more when they graduate.
– For our alumni, the degrees they already hold are now more valuable.
– For the university, it means we will be able to recruit and attract even more of the best and brightest students and faculty.
– For the state of Florida, it means our sons and daughters no longer have to leave their home state to attend a world-class university.
– For Florida’s economy, having a top-five public research university is an effective tool for recruiting top companies and employers.
– While we have good reason to celebrate, there is also still much to be done. We must work harder than ever to stay in the top five and rise even further.

Top five messaging

We should celebrate our success, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Now is the time to double down on our efforts.

The plan we’ve developed to reach the top five aligns with the metrics used by U.S. News & World Report. It includes student selectivity, retention and graduation rates, alumni giving and academic reputation, but it also includes things U.S. News doesn’t measure, such as research funding, tech transfer and National Academy members.

Florida’s 20 million residents deserve a top-five university that is fitting of the nation’s third, most populous state.