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Harvard first, BYU second: Most popular schools in US

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 25 2012 3:08 p.m. MST

In this 2006 file photo, BYU students Natalie Thompson and Megan Bowen walk on campus at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. BYU is the second most popular national university in the U.S. according to 2012 rankings released by U.S. News and World Report.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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Brigham Young University is the second most popular national university in the United States, according to 2012 rankings released by U.S. News and World Report, bringing its two-year streak at No. 1 to an end.

The rankings are based mostly on the school's yield — the percentage of applicants accepted who end up enrolling at that institution in the fall, as reported by U.S. News. For fall semester 2011, BYU fell short to Harvard University by .8 percent.

"This ranking shows that the students who apply to BYU really want to be at BYU, and if they're accepted, then they go ahead and enroll," said Todd Hollingshead, a spokesperson for the university.

BYU accepted 7,020 students and 5,245 of those actually enrolled giving them a 74.7 percent yield. Harvard University accepted 2,205 and 1,664 enrolled, yielding them 75.5 percent.

BYU and Harvard have been vying for first place for years. They tied in 2008, the first year U.S. News compiled the rankings, and Harvard edged BYU in 2009. BYU finished first in 2010 and 2011.

"It's been fun to watch each year the rankings between BYU and Harvard go back and forth, and this year they came out a little ahead of us," Hollingshead said. "We look forward to next year to see what happens, and perhaps the two of us will continue to be vying for the top spot."

Other schools that made the 2012 top 10 list include Stanford University, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

EMAIL: tackerman@desnews.com

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