Everyone on campus is aware that Emory University, listed within the top 20 National Universities by U.S News and World Report for the past several years, has slipped to #21 in the recently released 2015 rankings. Emotions ran high and many had something to say about it, as could be seen on Facebook, Yik Yak, and other social media platforms. As these rankings are typically associated with a level of prestige, many high school seniors and their parents pay a lot of attention to them when deciding where to spend their next four years. At Her Campus Emory, we’re here to answer the your questions: how did Berkeley beat us for the #20 spot? And, more importantly, how exactly does U.S News and World Report evaluate these rankings? After all the drama it has caused, U.S. News reveals their secret. Here is the process step by step:
First, U.S. News separates colleges and universities into the following groups: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges. While both National and Regional Universities offer a full range of undergraduate courses and degrees, Regional Universities do not usually offer a wide variety of doctoral programs. After they are sorted, the ranking begins. Each of the following affects each school’s score:
1. Undergraduate academic reputation (22.5%)
U.S. News interviews appropriate, qualified people to evaluate the school and its academic facilities. These people typically include deans of admissions, provosts, and presidents. High school college counselors are asked to rate the school on a scale from 1 to 5—those who do not know enough about the school are not asked to rate it.
2. Retention (22.5%)
U.S. News also places a heavy weight on each school’s retention rate, measuring the percentage of first-year students that return for their sophomore year. Basically, this rating indicates whether or not a school keeps its students satisfied.
3. Faculty Resources (20%)
Faculty resources measures two factors: class size and faculty salary. Class size is evaluated by the proportion of classes with less than 20 students and the proportion with over 50 students; faculty salary takes into account the average faculty pay plus benefits during the previous two school years, accounting for regional differences in cost of living.
4. Student Selectivity (12.5%)
Student selectivity takes into account the average standardized test scores and class rankings of the students, as well as the school’s acceptance rate of those who applied.
5. Financial Resources (10%)
This factor measures how much each school spends on instruction, research, and educational student services. Schools that spend more money each year can afford to offer a wider variety of programs and services.
6. Graduation rate (7.5%)
U.S. News takes graduation rate into account when conducting the rankings because it shows how the school’s program requirements and policies affect how many students graduate within 4-5 years.
7. Alumni Giving (5%)
Finally, alumni giving is the least weighted factor in the ranking process. This reflects the percentage of graduates who donated to their college or university within the past two academic years. U.S. News includes the alumni giving rate stating that it indirectly measures student satisfaction.
So, while there isn’t a whole lot that Emory students can directly do to boost our ranking, we can work to improve our retention rate, graduation rate, and remember to donate once we graduate! Keeping all of this data in mind, maybe we could make a comeback next year at #19. GO EAGLES!