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August 21, 2004

No Surprises In Latest College (Scholastic) Rankings

FROM THE CULTURE THAT SPAWNED SAT QUARTILES AND BCS RANKINGS comes the latest version of the much-anticipated, much-debated and much-derided college rankings from US News & World Report.

Every year brings higher levels of angst and one-upsmanship as parents and their college-bound children engage in the rites of college selection.

Although still subject to many intangibles and unknowns, the college selection process has become more and more a sophisticated marketing challenge for schools to create awareness and build / maintain their image.

Of all the myriad methods for students and parents to familiarize themselves with the college marketplace—guidance counselor input, campus visits, websites, directories—the US News & World Report college rankings have come a starting point for many.

While many college officials complain about the rankings, they also aid and abet the process by deliberately altering their marketing efforts to improve their rankings.

One of the top complaints is that the rankings rely too heavily on reputation. Not surprisingly, Harvard and Princeton Universities tied for the top spot in the college rankings, followed by Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The rest of the top 10: (tied for 5th): Duke, MIT and Stanford; (8th): California Institute of Technology; (tied for 9th): Columbia and Dartmouth.

Let’s see, six of the top 10 schools are in the Ivy League. Yes, that would seem to support a reliance on reputation and tradition in forming the rankings.

In the public university category, the University of California at Berkeley was No. 1 and the University Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Virginia were tied for second.

For liberal arts colleges, Williams College topped the rankings, followed by Amherst and Swarthmore Colleges, which shared second place.

National Universities

To rank colleges and universities, U.S. News first assigns schools to a group of their peers, based on categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Those in the National Universities group are the 248 American universities (162 public and 86 private) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral degrees.
In each category, data on up to 15 indicators of academic quality are gathered from each school and tabulated. Schools are ranked within categories by their total weighted score.

1. Harvard University
2. Princeton University
3. Yale University
4. University of Pennsylvania
5. Duke University
6. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
7. Stanford University
8. California Institute of Technology
9. Columbia University
10. Dartmouth College
11. Northwestern University
12. Washington University in St. Louis
13. Brown University
14. Cornell University
15. Johns Hopkins University
16. University of Chicago
17. Rice University
18. University of Notre Dame
19. Vanderbilt University
20. Emory University
21. University of California – Berkeley
22. Carnegie Mellon University
23. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
24. University of Virginia
25. Georgetown University
26. Univ. of California – Los Angeles
27. Wake Forest University
28. Tufts University
29. U. of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
30. Univ. of Southern California
31. College of William and Mary
32. Brandeis University
33. New York University
34. Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison
35. Case Western Reserve Univ
36. Univ. of California – San Diego
37. Boston College
38. Lehigh University
39. U. of Illinois – Urbana - Champaign
40. University of Rochester
41. Georgia Institute of Technology
42. University of California – Davis
43. Tulane University
44. University of California – Irvin
45. Univ. of California – Santa Barbara
46. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst
47. University of Texas – Austin
48. University of Washington
49. Yeshiva University
50. Pennsylvania State U. – University Park

Liberal Arts Colleges

The nation's 217 liberal arts colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the liberal arts.

1. Williams College (MA)
2. Amherst College (MA)
3. Swarthmore College (PA)
4. Wellesley College (MA)
5. Carleton College (MN)
6. Pomona College (CA)
7. Bowdoin College (ME)
8. Davidson College (NC)
9. Haverford College (PA)
10. Wesleyan University (CT)
11. Middlebury College (VT)
12. Vassar College (NY)
13. Claremont McKenna College (CA)
14. Smith College (MA)
15. Washington and Lee University (VA)
16. Colgate University (NY)
17. Grinnell College (IA)
18. Harvey Mudd College (CA)
19. Colby College (ME)
20. Hamilton College (NY)
21. Bryn Mawr College (PA)
22. Bates College (ME)
23. Oberlin College (OH)
24. Mount Holyoke College (MA)
25. Trinity College (CT)

Most students receiving athletic scholarships

Following are the schools with the highest percentage of students receiving athletic scholarships.

Briar Cliff University (IA): 91%
Inter American University of Puerto Rico–San Germ: 89%
Baker University (KS): 84%
Dana College (NE): 58%
Tabor College (KS): 49%
Regent University (VA): 46%
Midland Lutheran College (NE): 43%
McPherson College (KS): 41%
Brescia University (KY): 39%
Morningside College (IA): 35%
Bethel College (KS): 30%
North Greenville College (SC): 27%
Tri-State University (IN): 27%
University of Mary (ND): 26%
Missouri Baptist College: 25%
Walsh University (OH): 25%
Webber International University (FL): 24%
Concordia University (NE): 24%
Newman University (KS): 24%
Warner Southern College (FL): 23%
Talladega College (AL): 22%
St. Vincent College (PA): 22%
Erskine College (SC): 22%
Albertson College (ID): 21%
Centenary College of Louisiana: 21%
Pikeville College (KY): 21%
Hannibal-LaGrange College (MO): 21%
Holy Names University (CA): 20%
Montana Tech of the Univ. of Mont.: 20%
Wingate University (NC): 20%

Most transfer students

These schools enrolled the greatest number of transfer students in the fall of 2003.

Excelsior College (NY): 12,919
Regis University (CO): 5229
University of Maryland–University College: 4160
University of South Florida: 4063
Arizona State University: 3978
San Francisco State University: 3800
University of North Texas: 3618
University of Central Florida: 3495
University of Montana: 3425
San Diego State University: 3398
UCLA: 3256
California State U.–Fullerton: 3238
Florida Atlantic University: 3175
University of Texas–Arlington: 3080
California State U.–Long Beach: 3030
University of Nevada–Las Vegas: 2900
California State U.–Sacramento: 2834
Texas State University: 2746
University of Houston: 2614
University of Texas–San Antonio: 2612
Temple University (PA): 2596
Utah Valley State College: 2518
Portland State University (OR): 2516
University of Oklahoma: 2,455
Wayne State University (MI): 2383
Florida International University: 2370
California State Univ.–Fresno: 2364
Univ. of Southern Mississippi: 2300
George Mason University (VA): 2267
Texas Tech University: 2158
University of Utah: 2154
Washington State University: 2147
SUNY–Empire State College: 2116
Univ. of Minnesota–Twin Cities: 2090
Univ. of Maryland–College Park: 2040

(this 970 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was distilled from a 2250 word article from The Chronicle of Higher Education of 8-20-04)