Where did the BYUs and Utah schools land in the latest 'Best Colleges' rankings?

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  • J3G Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2018 2:39 p.m.

    There was a comment that said BYU is beating the University of Utah in
    "every ranking that matters. Academics."

    To clarify, the rankings don't say that. What the rankings DO say, is the BYU is very good with accounting. And that is actually really great; don't get me wrong. But last time I checked, accounting was was not the only type of academics out there. According the the article's report of the rankings, the U of U actually beat BYU in engineering. Engineering is also considered academics.

    To be fair, the rankings don't give you a lot of information about either school's strengths. For instance, while the rankings did not report this, the U is a tier 1 research school while BYU is only a tier 2.

    BYU is definitely more competitive in regards to the admissions process, but when it comes down to the education that students receive..... there is not a clear cut answer as to which school is better.

    Medicine? Go to the U. Engineering? Go to the U. Research? Go to the U.

    Accounting? BYU.

    Law and Business are great and at about the same general level at both schools, with individual strengths you would need to look into before deciding.


  • BobbyPaluga Austin, TX
    Sept. 22, 2017 2:03 a.m.

    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.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 19, 2017 1:16 p.m.

    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.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 1:24 p.m.

    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.

  • JapanCougar Layton, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    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 education.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Sept. 14, 2017 3:10 p.m.

    @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.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 2:18 p.m.

    "BYU still thumping Utah in the areas that really matter.

    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.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 11:56 a.m.

    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 schools.

  • Allen C Christensen American Fork, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 6:49 a.m.

    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.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 13, 2017 5:24 p.m.

    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.

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 2:40 p.m.

    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.

  • BooBoo Orem, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 1:41 p.m.


    Not 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.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 12:35 p.m.

    BYU still thumping Utah in the areas that really matter.

  • ute alumni Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 11:38 a.m.

    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.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 11:14 a.m.

    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 UTES

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 13, 2017 10:33 a.m.

    For those interested in rankings, the Times Higher Education World Ranking is a far more sophisticated service than US News.