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‘U.S. News’ Ranks Boston College No. 35

U.S. News & World Report named Boston College the No. 35 best national college in its 2021 college rankings, a two-spot jump from last year’s ranking.

This year, U.S. News slightly altered its rankings methodology by reducing the weight of standardized tests on the overall score from 7.75 percent to 5 percent. It also added graduate indebtedness criteria to the outcomes category, a change that increased the weight of outcomes on a school’s total score by 5 percent to a total of 40 percent. Other outcomes factors include graduation and retention, graduation rate performance, and social mobility.

Calculations from this year’s rankings used data from fall of 2019 or earlier, meaning the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the data itself, but in order to account for the pandemic’s disruption to higher education, U.S. News placed less of an emphasis on admissions data and alumni giving data, and it re-introduced test-blind schools in the rankings.

In ranking schools, U.S. News gives each school an overall score between zero and 100. Ten percent of each school’s scores came from financial resources per student, and 20 percent from faculty resources. U.S. News also allotted 10 percent of the overall score for undergraduate academic reputation. BC received an overall score of 75.

In a University release, Associate Vice President of Communications Jack Dunn said that BC received its highest peer assessment score to date, an increase from 3.7 to 3.8. He also noted that the U.S. News’ 2019 change to their rankings methodology continues to negatively affect BC. The 2019 change altered the calculation of a school’s proportion of Pell Grant-eligible students, those whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, which benefits larger state schools that enroll a large number of Pell Grant-eligible students, according to the BC release. U.S. News writes that the metric isn’t perfect for measuring an institution’s attempt at economic diversity, as colleges may enroll a large number of students who are just above the Pell cutoff.

Students reacted positively to BC’s increase in ranking. Christopher Meehan, MCAS ’22, noted how the increase in ranking may be beneficial in terms of future job prospects.

“The increase in ranking is definitely good news,” Meehan said. “For a rising junior like myself … a high ranking would definitely be beneficial for me in an interview or a job.”

U.S. News also ranked BC as eighth in “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” 13th in “First Year Experiences,” 25th in “Most Innovative Schools,” and 42nd in “Best Value Schools.” BC received No. 16 in “Study Abroad,” and No. 4 in “Service Learning,” its highest ranking this year.

BC placed well in comparison to peer schools—Boston University tied with Brandeis University at No. 42 and Northeastern University ranked 49th. Tufts University was ranked No. 30, while University of Notre Dame ranked No. 19 and Georgetown University ranked No. 23.

The Carroll School of Management received high rankings from U.S. News, ranking in at No. 24 in “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” and No. 7 in finance. It was also listed No. 12 overall in accounting and No. 20 overall in marketing, according to the University release.

BC recently ranked No. 51 in the 2020 Washington Monthly national university rankings. Compared to the U.S. News rankings, the Washington Monthly rankings place more of an emphasis on the public good, dividing it into three categories— social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

“It’s our answer to U.S. News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige,” the rankings page reads. 

In the Washington Monthly rankings, Boston University ranked 110th, Northeastern University ranked 128th, and Tufts University ranked 38th. The University of Notre Dame ranked 23rd, and Georgetown University ranked eighth.

Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff

September 21, 2020

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