School Rankings

If you are like me, you probably react with mixed feelings towards the U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of colleges and universities. On the one hand, I don't agree completely with the methodology used to make the rankings, but my competitive nature wants UNC to do as well as it can in spite of my concerns about methodology.

I decided this year I would give these rankings a more detailed look than in the past, and I thought some of you might be interested in what I found.

For those of you not familiar with the rankings, let me explain that two rankings come out each fall. One is devoted to undergraduate education, the schools of Engineering, Law, Medicine and Education. The second is devoted to Graduate Schools. My first report will be on the undergraduate etc. rankings.

While I have particular interest in UNC, I am also interested in other N.C. schools, schools in the ACC area and the South. What I found this year makes me proud to be a Tar Heel and proud to be a North Carolinian.

One word of caution before I divulge what I found.
As a general rule, private schools tend to be ranked higher than public institutions. Whether you agree or not, money talks and another general rule is that the cost of attending a private university is much higher than the cost of attending a public institution.

This post is running longer than I thought it would, so I am going to label this section, Part 1 and write Part 2 at a later date. I don't seem to get any more concise as time moves on.

Before I summarize the rankings for the year 2001, maybe it would be beneficial to provide the basis for the rankings. While I will not itemize the elements which constitute the categories, they are contained in the report.

Academic Reputation..............25%
Graduation and Retention Rate....20%
Faculty Resources................20%
Student Selectivity..............15%
Financial Resources..............10%
Alumni Giving.................... 5%
Graduation Rate Performance.......5%

I will also provide a comparison of sorts between the ACC Schools and our neighbors in the Southeastern Conference since they seem to be so fond of athletic comparisons.

National Universities

ACC
8. Duke
20. Virginia (tied)
24 UNC (tied)
28. Wake Forest
35. Georgia Tech (tied)

Southeastern
22. Vanderbilt

Public National Institutions

ACC
1. Virginia (tied)
3. UNC (tied)
8 Ga. Tech.
24 Maryland (tied)
33.N.C State
38.Clemson (tied)
47. Fla. State (tied)

Southeastern
18. Florida (tied)
20. Georgia (tied)
42 Auburn (tied)
44. Tennessee

Business Programs
(Undergraduate)


ACC
5. UNC (tied)
8. Virginia (tied)
21. Maryland (tied)
28. Wake Forest (tied)
34. Ga. Tech (tied)
41. Florida State (tied)

Southeastern
21. Florida (tied)
28. Georgia (tied)
41. Tennessee (tied)

Engineering

ACC

7. Ga. Tech. (tied)
22.Duke (tied)
22. Maryland (tied)
27 Virginia (tied)
35 N.C. State
59 Clemson (tied)

Southeastern

27 Florida (tied)
44 Vanderbilt (tied)
59 Auburn (tied)
67 Tennessee (tied)



So there you have it. It's tempting to analyze and editorialize, but the figures speak for themselves.
One word of caution. Just because a school is not listed, you should not automatically assume the school is below the ratings posted. It may be that the area being rated does not exist at the school in question. A good example is Duke is not rated in the undergraduate business school ratings but I an told there is no undergraduate school of business or undergraduate business major at Duke.

Next time, the graduate schools of Business and Education and the Schools of Medicine and Law.