Emory Report

August 23, 1999

 Volume 52, No. 1

Emory's 18th in annual U.S. News & World Report survey

Emory is ranked 18th among 228 national universities in this year's U.S. News & World Report annual college quality rankings. In 1998 Emory was ranked 16th ; in 1997 ninth; and in 1996 19th. Those seemingly impossible yearly fluctuations are at the heart of Emory's ongoing debate over the validity of the annual rankings. U.S. News contends it is possible to compare schools on one key attribute: academic excellence. Yet Emory continues to point out that yearly changes in the rankings are not valid if the measurement tool changes each year.

In commenting on the survey, President Bill Chace said, "Emory is pleased to be noted as among the very best educational institutions in the state, the region and the nation. We believe we provide superb learning opportunities to exceptionally qualified students. The schools with which we are listed are, we believe, the right peer group."

Emory is among top universities across the country who talk about the weak nature of the survey methodology. But most acknowledge that prospective undergraduates do use the rankings as an indicator of quality of institutions.

This summer, staff from Emory College Admissions and Public Affairs conducted several focus group sessions with prospective undergraduates and their parents to explore how students obtain information about colleges and their use of the Internet. Students and their parents talked about the importance of guidebooks and rankings as a means of determining the quality of an institution and whether they would add a school to the list of colleges and universities they were considering. There are plans to further explore the importance of rankings and college guidebooks among prospective undergraduates.

Emory's rankings in the survey's components were 27th in academic reputation, 20th in student selectivity, 15th in faculty resources, 15th in overall financial resources, 20th in graduation and retention, and 14th in alumni giving.

The rankings will appear in the Aug. 23 issue of the magazine and at <www.usnews.com.>

--Jan Gleason

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