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BYU and Utah rise in new U.S. News college rankings

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  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    For the past 60 years BYU has focused on the quality of undergraduate education. That is primarily why they are ranked #62. Most universities depend on Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) attached to research grants. Those research grants do not improve undergraduate education. In fact they can detract because the faculty are doing research while classes are often taught by their graduate assistants. The dream of most high end researchers is to be relieved of undergraduate teaching. BYU has less than 1/10th the government grants that Utah has, but is ranked 7th among major universities for patents and publications per each grant dollar.

  • jeru0455 SALEM, OR
    Sept. 13, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    The reality is all of this matters very little. For employers what is under the "work experience" portion of your resume means a lot more than what is under the "education" portion.

  • SSmith Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    @TwoForFlinching

    Take it up with Forbes. Perhaps they will accept your response and reverse the ranking. But I think not.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    wwookie

    The article stated that the ranking formula was tweaked to place greater emphasis on graduation rates. I poked around the data published on US News' website for a few minutes and saw that BYU's graduation rates were much lower than the schools with similar overall rankings. I didn't do a formal test but the differences are noticeable. Feel free to check for yourself and let me know if I what I saw was incorrect.

    I read a study a couple years back that found BYU was #5 for undergraduates who go on to get Ph.Ds (google "BYU is Top-5 launching pad for PhDs" and you can see for yourself). The other schools on the list include Berkley, Cornell, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State, and Harvard.
    Utah State ranked #3 on a similar list looking at percent of students that go on to graduate school (google "10 Colleges That Lead to Grad School").

    I can't say how much Utah universities rankings are affected by the large number of missionaries. Maybe BYU could jump into the top 50, maybe Utah the top 100. I wish there was a way to find out.

  • TaipeiModerate New Haven, CT
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    @RBB

    I attended a top-five law school. I can tell you that prestige and pedigree matter a significant amount in law and other professional disciplines like specialty medicine, banking, consulting, and accounting. Around 80% of my class routinely obtained top-level jobs making, and the others ended up working in prestigious government and public interest jobs. In the same time period only five percent of BYU and U students achieved the same type of jobs. This isn't to say that BYU or U students wouldn't do well in the same jobs we obtained. The reality of a market economy is that grads from top-tier schools are much more attractive to the clients of employers. In a sense a demanded input for successful organizations by their clients is pedigree. I would assume that the bad economy has magnified this reality.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    @ SSmith

    "according to Forbes, [BYU] ranks higher than Utah as a research institution."

    Forbes is wrong.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    Note to u....Utah is not tier one anything!

  • Krispy Zadoosh Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    How could an independent school be ranked higher than a PAC 12 Power conference school?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    @One Angry Salebarn Worker - one problem you have with UVU is it has a non-competitive admissions policy, everyone gets in. In the scheme of things, that really doesn't matter. Ohio State has largely been an open university, and yet still has a decent reputation academically and athletically.

    I personally love that the UVU teams come out and compete with Duke programs from time to time. But if you look at the list carefully, there are many schools that were not ranked fro one reason or another.

    And yes, the rankings are imperfect, but it is one factor that could and is used by parents and kids when they evaluate what school to spend their money at.

  • Jeff29 Draper, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    @alt134

    You are correct that Utah is a Tier 1 school, as are all PAC 12 schools with the exception of Arizona (this is according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which is generally considered the standard in this area). There are 108 Universities lised in the first Tier. You are wrong, however, about BYU, which is listed in the second Tier of 99 schools. It is fairly common knowledge that BYU is lower on this list simply because they take very little research money from outside sources compared to other universities; so their volume of research is lower. It is also fairly common knowledge that the quality of research coming out of BYU is exceptional.

    I guess the conclusion we can draw, and I think anyone who has been to college would agree, is that quantity of research does not necessarily correlate to quality of education. I'm not saying that the two cannot coexist, but I think it is no uncommon that professors who are dedicated to research are not the greatest teachers.

    Regardless, the PAC can beat the "research institution" drum all day long, but are you actually buying it?

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    I predict the ratings for all of the instate schools will rise as the number of LDS missionaries who attended college prior to missions decreases due to the missionary age change. Part of some ratings is based on how many students graduate in 4-5 years from first enrollment.

  • One Angry Salebarn Worker Madison, SD
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    Hidden in this snare of BYU-UU combat fodder is the news that UVU didn’t even register a blip on the academic performance radar. You mean to tell me that with more students on its campus than BYU, UU and USU, and tons of state money poured into its operation that Utah Valley University can’t even get a mention? Maybe we should take a real close look at what’s going on down there.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    (continued)
    Putting a greater emphasis on graduation rate has a greater impact in Utah due to the number of missionaries (it takes two years longer to graduate). The increased emphasis on retention (now 22.5 percent) also hurts Utah schools as many women drop out to become mothers (but many return later to complete their degrees, and this isn’t factored in). Undergraduate academic reputation is largely calculated by how the nation’s best high schools rank colleges. It just so happens that most of the “best” HS on U.S. New’s list are on the East coast, so they’d understandably give Utah schools lower rankings.

    Ultimately, all three Utah schools provide a higher quality education than their rankings indicate.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    While I’m grateful for having attended or taught at three of the top 75 ranked schools, most academics consider these rankings a joke. Indeed, just yesterday in a faculty meeting we briefly discussed how ridiculous it is that several of the top ranking schools pander to these rankings by changing things within their institutions to beef up their profile while simultaneously lowering the quality of actual student learning and achievement.

    Significantly, the methodology applied this year hurts all three of the Utah schools. The three greatest factors (graduation rates, retention, academic reputation) are all negatively impacted by the Utah culture thereby unjustly resulting in lower ranks.
    (continued)

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    The US News and World Report rankings should be viewed cautiously. It is not the BCS of academic institutions. Its methodology emphasizes factors that favor private universities, such as endowments, alumni giving, and student-faculty ratios. Other reputable ranking systems of universities (i.e., Times Higher Education Ranking)paint a very different picture for BYU, the University of Utah, and other universities. Of course, publishing these rankings would not tease out the BYU-Utah-USU rivalry comments as noted in these posts; hence, they likely will be found in the D-News.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    @Frozen Chosen
    ", but the PAC 10 picked Utah over BYU because it's academics were so much better."

    Utah is a tier 1 research institution which is what the PAC cared about. BYU is not. Utah's ranked 85th in the ARWU world rankings. BYU is between 300-400. The ARWU rankings are more heavily focused on research and natural sciences.

  • Down under Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    WOW, BYU is twice as good as Utah? Kind of makes sense

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    BYUAlum,

    I am not sure where you are getting your numbers. Here are the top 10 Universities by the number of applicants.

    UCLA: 61,564
    UC San Diego: 53,448
    St. John’s University (NY): 52,972
    UC Berkeley: 52,966
    California State University—Long Beach: 49,287
    UC Irvine: 49,287
    UC Santa Barbara: 49,008
    Drexel University: 48,450
    UC Davis: 45,806
    Pennsylvania State University—University Park: 45,502

    The Y has an acceptance rate of 54%. (UCLA is 25%) If it had more applications than UCLA, the Y would be admitting over 31,000 new freshman a year.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    I suppose it was Lenny Gomes who best described the relationship between academics and sports and what you get from one university vs. the other when he said “All those guys think that’s all there is to life. But when I’m making $50-60,000 a year, they’ll be pumping my gas." I left off the last part of the quote because it was not very nice.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    Shortly before I went to law school they did a survey of top law schools. Princeton was ranked No. 5. I would have loved to have gone there but I could not get in - mostly because Princeton does not have a law school. "Reputation" is a weak indicator of how good of an education you are really getting.

    All of these studies focus of different factors which may be totally meaningless to your education. For example, a recent study ranked the U as the 85th best university in the world and BYU did not make the list. The U gets more than 5 times as many patents per year than the Y and has significantly more research opportunities. But how does that affect you if you are an education or business major?

    Alumni giving rates, the size of an endowment and average GPA of entering students have little to do with the education you receive. Yes you can buy "reputation" but spending $200k to get a name really just shows that you are not that smart.

  • WON84 PLANO, TX
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    "You're correct. Of course, since one of the reasons the (then) PAC 10 gave for not inviting BYU to join was that BYU didn't have the academic chops of the other schools in the conference, it's always fun to see that BYU matches up fairly well on that score."

    No one thinks BYU doesn't have the academic chops. I haven't checked the list but, if BYU sits at 62nd I'd guess only Stanford, Cal, USC, and UCLA sit in front of them. The University of Washington might too but, none of the other schools in the league are very strong.

    The Pac 10 simply doesn't want a religious school in their liberal league and further doesn't want to work around the Sunday issue. I cannot blame them for the latter.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    per DKWalser...

    Agreed. Just like power rankings on espn, perception of post secondary institutions is like a Jr High election.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    Just saying because I went there, loved it, and graduated.....from BYU. It will always be #1 no matter what poll you might read. More students try to get into the Y than any other school other than Harvard. I read that stat in the DN a while back, and I believe it!

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    re: SLCWatch

    Who let the dogs out!?

  • Witty Username Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    Wow Utah State, wow.

  • LindonMan Lindon, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    Like I always say, Utah State is a joke!

  • Wow, that was awful Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    SLCWatch...You will take great satisfaction as you sit and reminisce with UNLV graduates from the Jerry Tarkanian era, I am sure they are proud Alumni also...

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    Please stop using the word academics when what you mean is the reputation you are buying.

    Palmetto, where are you getting your info, or did you just make it up?

  • DKWalser MESA, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    "I work from time to time for the 7th ranked school. I graduated with my jd\mba from one of the nations top 10 public schools. Both wonderful places. But after graduation day, it means absolutely nothing. In my job the vast majority of people I work with have advanced degrees - some from some very highly ranked schools - and some from some rather ordinary schools. I can tell you.... impact and contribution have little correlation to what school they went to. Little to none."

    That's correct. However, decades after graduation, people still judge professionals by what school they went to. Going to a "ranked" school may not mean a better education, but it often means a better reputation -- which can translate into more and better job opportunities. And, of course, it's not just the quality of the school, but the quality (and reputation) of the program that matters.

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    @SLCWatch. I guess if your success in your educational pursuit is based on 'an' athletic team's success, you may be right. I have yet to see, on a resume, a football team mentioned unless that person actually participated on that team vs. being a spectator.

  • SSmith Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    No surprise here. BYU is the best value in the region for education. It ranks higher than Utah in ACT entrance scores and, according to Forbes, ranks higher than Utah as a research institution.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:05 a.m.

    slcwatch...I know what you mean, BYU has so many conf. championships, National championships, All americans, Heisman trophy winner, National player of the year, their football team isn't sitting home in December watching tv, on and on and on...It's sick, BYU is just sick how it puts to shame the rest of the state.

    And now to add to their athletic prowess, they are ranked massively ahead of everyone else as just a flat out good school to get an education.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:25 a.m.

    Just imagine where these schools could be if the ratings didn't place so much emphasis on the 4 and 6-year graduation rates. Maybe with young men going on missions before starting college we'll be able to jump in the rankings.

  • Frozen Chosen Savage, MN
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:08 a.m.

    But, but, but the PAC 10 picked Utah over BYU because it's academics were so much better.

    Yeah right!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    "Custom Model Railroads HO Vertical Lift Bridge Single Track Kit"

    I am sorry.... this has what to do with what? Universities are about their sporting programs? Huh?

    I work from time to time for the 7th ranked school. I graduated with my jd\mba from one of the nations top 10 public schools. Both wonderful places. But after graduation day, it means absolutely nothing. In my job the vast majority of people I work with have advanced degrees - some from some very highly ranked schools - and some from some rather ordinary schools. I can tell you.... impact and contribution have little correlation to what school they went to. Little to none.

    You have fantastically motivated bright people from 100 plus ranked schools... and you have impossible to work with types from top 10 schools... and viva-versa. Its what you do with the knowledge learned that drives your income potential. Not some latin recognition.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    Not surprised to see usu slip. Back when I was searching for grad schools, the school had an acceptance rate of 99%, which means almost anyone who applies gets in. I've yet to hear one person I personally know say their undergrad programs are harder than high school.

    The other two big boy schools are really rigorous and they have many nationally ranked programs. usu needs to find a way to change its image of being a farming school sprinkled with a little engineering etc. before it will really take off.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:38 a.m.

    Academic success?

    Selectivity is not a measure of academic success.

    And neither is graduation rates for that matter. Average gre or lsat scores at end of college would be a much better measure of academic success.

    classic example of GIGO

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:34 a.m.

    What it means to an incoming athlete is that one school is respected more than those below it. One degree may have greater value on the job front, a grad school may place greater empathis on a degree from one school over another. The vast majority of college athletes are not going to play professional football making the earning a degree the most important goal and playing football as just a way to pay tuition, books, housing and food. When I played at Arizona St in the late 70's we had a large group pf guys who were able to move up but an even larger group who prepared to move up, putting their degree second. Without a degree and eligability they had nothing for their 4-5 years. Those are the folks managing 7-11's working in fast foods, construction, unless they did go back and finish. BYU has a more competitive academic situation and an strict honor code, both scare away many kids. The Cougars are further limited on who they can recruit based on HS grades and test scores. To think this and other rankings play no role in athletics is a ridiculas comment.

  • Jeff29 Draper, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:51 a.m.

    @SLCWatch

    I'm not sure exactly what your point is regarding athletics and academics, but I'm happy to see someone recognizes that there is very little correlation. Now if only Utah fans would stop claiming academic superiority as a reason for their invitation to the PAC 12...

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:11 a.m.

    @sports are great
    It's kinda relative because there are other ranking lists that put Utah ahead of BYU (those tend to focus more on research). Each university has its' own strengths.

  • DKWalser MESA, AZ
    Sept. 10, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    "None of which means squat as far as any of the schools atheletic teams go. Just thought we ought to make that clear before everyone starts kicking that poor dog."

    You're correct. Of course, since one of the reasons the (then) PAC 10 gave for not inviting BYU to join was that BYU didn't have the academic chops of the other schools in the conference, it's always fun to see that BYU matches up fairly well on that score.

  • Missouri loves BYU Lebanon, MO
    Sept. 10, 2013 10:07 p.m.

    Woof... Woof....

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 9:23 p.m.

    None of which means squat as far as any of the schools atheletic teams go. Just thought we ought to make that clear before everyone starts kicking that poor dog.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Sept. 10, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    "BYU and the University of Utah enjoyed modest gains, while Utah State University experienced a significant slip in the 2014 rankings of the best colleges in America released Tuesday U.S. News & World Report.

    Within the National Universities category BYU ranked 62nd and Utah checked in at 121st — up six and four spots, respectively, from last year. Conversely, Utah State slid 16 places to 190th."

    It's nice to see BYU and Utah climbing up the academic success ladder, but what's going on at Utah State?

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 9:00 p.m.

    Is 62, 121, or 190 better?