And then there is lowly Boise State University #66 in the 2017 "Best
Schools" West Regional rankings, far below even BYU-Idaho which was #15 last
year. Boise State is unranked in 2018, Forbes had BSU ranked #612 of #630, and
they wonder why no one takes the school seriously. With the vast number of
schools ranked high being smaller liberal arts schools, #61 is outstanding as is
the next higher group which includes UT.
I went to BYU for 3 semesters, finished with a BA and MS from Washington and a
PhD from Oregon State, did a postdoc back at Washington and I taught at Yale.I would say that BYU's undergraduate curriculum in the sciences is
excellent, certainly as good as UW or OSU. But BYU, without state funding,
simply cannot operate a med school, or even some advanced science curricula. I
taught in a graduate program at Yale, but was a fellow at Trumbull College
(residential college) so I had some exposure to the undergrad experience there.
Smaller classes, brilliant liberal arts, good science. Also thousands of dollars
per year. My take was that Yale is a great reference; great for getting that
first job, or getting into grad/medical schools.My take: BYU is an
excellent undergrad environment. Wall Street recruits from BYU, professional
acceptance rates are high. The expectations at BYU are high, and it appears to
be highly competitive.Utah State is a great Ag School, and UU has a
med school, so I would expect quality in their science undergrad programs.Fact is, you could go from an undergrad at any Utah school to virtually
any career. Depends on you.
To Frozen Fractals and Vermonter:With a much stronger student body
than the UofU, and better placement into top graduate programs, BYU is the clear
choice for undergraduate work in the state of Utah for anyone who is ok adhering
to BYU's Honor Code. If you aren't LDS and/or don't think the
Honor Code is for you, then the UofU is a reasonable option, though many
students at the school would not be admitted to even many middle-tier schools.
The other schools in the state are essentially non-selective.As for
graduate programs, BYU has limited choices and the UofU is not particularly
strong in most programs. BYU law and accounting/MBA programs are reasonably
good, as are Master's degrees in engineering, math, statistics, language
arts, music, etc. from both schools. For doctorate level work, students are
probably better off seeking better schools out-of-state, e.g. probably best to
go elsewhere for grad school.
BYU's emphasis has always been to provide an excellent undergraduate
education. They have typically avoided the extremely cost demanding graduate
programs (Medical, Dental) in favor of less costly programs in order to admit
more students. Most of the Ivy league schools have nearly equal numbers of
undergrad and grad students (and they cost a lot more). My grad school fit this
mold. So, I agree with the assessment that one should go to BYU for
undergrad and go elsewhere for grad schools. For the rankings that
highly value research, that's really more of a reflection on the money flow
and the emphasis of the faculty than it is a reflection on the quality of the
@Frozen Fractals.Great points. Seems like you want to be at
BYU as an undergrad, and then U of U for graduate work. The exceptions for
graduate work are law degrees and business degrees. For these, BYU seems to be
the better value.
@Bluto"BYU still thumping Utah in the areas that really matter.Academics."Sorta kinda. Utah is leagues ahead of BYU in other
ranking systems of colleges that focus more on research. BYU does better in
undergraduate students and gets a boost in any ranking looking for
"value" because tithing money makes for low tuition.They
both do some things very well and other things not so well.
I wish rankings also took into effect how much the school costs. If you can
get the same prestige, but at a school that costs half as much, that should be
something to really consider. Lower costs, and thus lower student debt, should
certainly count for something as the nation continues to be worried about
student debt. If this were taken into consideration, some of the highest
schools like Yale, Harvard, and others, would certainly be knocked down a few
notches and public schools in general would fare better than many private
One matter that most surveys do not seem to tackle is alumni accomplishments. It
is a difficult thing to measure as there is at least a 20-year delay before we
have reliable data. And then, how do we measure success at 20 years post
graduation? Is it wise to only count professional success? What about the
responsibilities for good citizenship, effective parenting and voluntary
service?Another issue that ought to be measured is the in-house
academic growth or distance traveled that a university helps its students
achieve. If a university can take students who do not enter with preparatory
scores as high as another, and yet take them to essentially the same level at
graduation time, they seemingly have performed the greater service. Consider
this example: "The child of a physician who becomes a physician has
accomplished a very fine thing. However, he or she has not traveled the same
intellectual and economic distance as has the child of poorly educated and
perhaps impoverished parents who earns a B.S. degree in engineering, biology,
chemistry, or economics." Real student growth seems more important in
measuring value than entering test scores.
@BooBoo:I don't disagree, except for a minor quibble - THE and QS are
both more complicated and sophisticated than US News, rather than just more
complicated. As far as manipulating data goes, US News has the same problem. My
objective in referencing other rankings is to cue savvy readers who want to get
past the BYU vs. Utah debate that there are other ranking systems that treat
both schools quite differently. It is interesting that every year the D-News
highlights the US News Report (could it be because BYU shines in comparison to
the U in this particular report?) and the article stirs up some simplistic
comments by supporters of both sides.
While ratings are always imperfect, there are probably things that every school
can learn and improve on.For the U, the admissions data are damning:
one quarter of students score 21 or lower on the ACT; three quarters of students
that apply are admitted. If you're a serious student and want to be
surrounded by the best and brightest, those numbers should give you pause.For BYU, admission is more competitive. In spite of this fairly capable
student body, however, many programs lag in national rankings. It should be
possible to do much better, given the talent pool of students available. BYU
should not be satisfied with the current state of affairs.
@TMRNot more sophisticated, just more complicated. The THE-QS World
University rankings place an inordinate emphasis (32.5% of the overall score) on
citations, and have a widely-recognized bias in favor of the hard sciences.
They pay university staff to respond to the surveys, introducing the potential
for further bias. And universities have been known to manipulate data to
improve their rankings. That's why we should all take these rankings with a
grain of salt, no matter which side of Point of the Mountain one prefers.
BYU still thumping Utah in the areas that really matter.Academics.
But wait, we're in the PAC 12. Thank Chris B. I agree. It appears Utah is
more interested in football than academics. It is embarrassing.
The University of Utah can and should do more to greatly increase the threshold
for incoming students. The average ACT and GPA of our incoming
freshman are embarrassingly low. We need to stop being the backup university.
BYU has a very high bar for incoming students and we should also.Go
For those interested in rankings, the Times Higher Education World Ranking is a
far more sophisticated service than US News.