UNC Rankings

I am a sucker for rankings, always have been and probably always will be. I am constantly searching for rankings to determine how UNC is perceived by those who do such things. The athletic team rankings are kindergarten stuff. Everybody knows about them even though we are aware that imperfections exist in the way the rankings are compiled. Are these rankings supposed to determine the relative strength of the teams or are the rankings supposed to show how well a team has performed against opponents? How good were the opponents? Where were the games played? Was it a rivalry game? Were injuries involved? Not exactly pure science even if we agree on the criteria used to make the rankings.

I stumbled across a UNC web site from the UNC Information Office several days ago that lists about every ranking that has been made involving UNC. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but the site does list a lot of rankings provided the ranking has occurred recently.

The ranking that gets the most ink , of course, is the U.S. News and World Report ranking that comes out each year. The first time I saw the national rankings in 1985, I believe UNC was ranked at either 8th or 9th. At that time, the rankings were made solely on the basis of evaluations made by the college presidents. There have been many changes in the criteria since then and UNC has gradually dropped to where we were listed at #29 in the last ranking.

I have carefully studied the criteria used for the U.S. News and World Report rankings and I am not in agreement with a lot of the measures used. That shouldn't come as a surprise and I well remember Dr. Alexander Heard, the former Chancellor of Vanderbilt University and a former UNC Dean saying that colleges and Universities in the South have to stop claiming that rankings do not measure what we feel should be measured when we don't compare favorably with institutions in other parts of the country. I got his message, and I have tried to guard against being biased in my thinking on the subject, but it's easier said than done.

Here are some of the rankings that have been made recently which involved UNC.

The Princeton Review

UNC is ranked #1 in their ranking of "Best College Buys."

U.S. News and World Report

In addition to being ranked #29 among all universities

UNC is ranked 5th among public universities in the country.

UNC's undergraduate Business School is ranked #5

The Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges

UNC is ranked #2

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

UNC is ranked #1 among public institutions.

Fiske Guide to Colleges

UNC is listed among the top 20 best buys.

Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

UNC is ranked #1 among public institutions in integrating African-Americans.

UNC is ranked #2 among public institutions in total black enrollment.
( I need to research this further)

UNC has the largest number of endowed chairs filled by black faculty members in the country.

For the fourth year in a row, UNC has the largest per centage of blacks in incoming freshmen class.

UNC is ranked #2 in number of blacks enrolled in medical school. Harvard is #1

Black Enterprise Magazine

UNC is ranked 1st among public institutions and 15th overall.
( needs research)

Entrepeneur Magazine

UNC is ranked #4.
(needs research)


Financial Times

UNC is ranked 17th in international programs.

Business Week

UNC is ranked 18th among schools offering a Master's Degree in Business..


Wall St. Journal

UNC Graduate Scool of Business is ranked #10

Forbes Magazine

UNC's MBA Program is ranked #8

Princeton Review

UNC is ranked among the top 20 institutions in the country in being "connected" for computers.

I'm not satisfied that I know precisely what all of the rankings entail, but I plan to research them and report on my findings at a later date.

I have saved some of the comments in Newsweek's "America's Hottest Colleges" for last because I think they afford subjective impressions of UNC that cannot be expressed in rankings.

"Almost every student....and every guidance counselor....we spoke to cited the great value of the school, given the superb quality of the education."

"In April 2002, the administration made national news by abolishing early decision admissions."

"Despite what you might think, Chapel Hill is not a 'Southern' city. It's Southern by geography only....meaning you'll be surrounded by many liberal, progressive minds and attitudes, despite traditional North Carolina politics."

The school seem seems to attract many preppy upper-middle-class Southerners and many political activists. Having said that, this is an incredibly diverse school where just about anybody can find his niche."

"Greek life is huge: Even though fewer than 20 per cent of the students join Greek houses, many more than that are informally involved."

" One Carolina student sums it up this way: ' Anything you want to do, you can do here.'"


"Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel."

Bill Currie, Journalist, 1996