US News Rankings and Applications

US News Rankings, US News, College rankings

A university’s ranking in “US News & World Report” has a direct correlation with the number of applications received the subsequent admissions cycle.

Curious about the correlation between a school’s “US News” ranking and the numbers of applications that school receives the subsequent application cycle? We’ve got answers for you. As presented in an article by Robert Morse for “US News & World Report” entitled “Study: Rankings Affect Student Applications,” an improvement of one ranking in the “US News” ranking leads to a 1% increase in applications that following admissions cycle. So every spot matters, according to a study published by Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Jonathan Smith of The College Board. This should come as no great surprise. We’ve been expressing for years the great significance attached to the “US News & World Report” rankings.

According to the piece on “US News & World Report,” “In a post on the Harvard website about their research, the authors write that the Best Colleges rankings ‘have become so influential at least in part because U.S. News makes the information so simple. While earlier college guides had already provided useful information about schools, U.S. News did the work of aggregating the information into an easy-to-use ranking, making it more salient for prospective students. However, students tend to ignore the underlying details even though these details carry more information than the overall rank.’ The rankings affect the admissions process differently if schools are ranked, rather than listed in a tier in alphabetical order, according to the article.”

Did you think that the “US News & World Report” rankings had such a significant impact on application figures? We sure did. Why do you think that this is? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.


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