UChicago’s Slip in 2020 US News Ranking

UChicago Ranking, College Rankings, Chicago Rank
The University of Chicago slipped in this year’s US News & World Report college rankings (photo credit: Richie Diesterheft).

The University of Chicago, a school that announced in June of 2018 that it was going test-optional in admissions, slipped in the 2020 US News & World Report college ranking — from a four-way tie for third in 2019 along with Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University to a three-way tie for sixth along with Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Chicago had ranked #3 for three straight years in the US News rankings so what explains the slip in the 2020 edition?

UChicago’s Social Mobility Score Hurt Its 2020 US News Ranking

A writer for the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, attempts to explain the slip and we happen to agree with his assessment. As Deepti Sailappan reports for The Chicago Maroon in a piece entitled “UChicago’s U.S. News Ranking Slips to No. 6, After Three Years at No. 3,” “The U.S. News rankings take into account standardized test scores, graduation rates, and a variety of other factors, with increased focus this year on criteria relating to social mobility for students from low-income backgrounds…Notably, the 2020 U.S. News rankings reflect an increased focus on social mobility for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This year, in evaluating schools’ six-year graduation rates, the U.S. News rankings began giving weight to the percentage of first-generation college students graduating. This year’s rankings also used federal government data on the percentage of students with Pell Grants for colleges that don’t report it themselves. Previously, those schools’ Pell Grant percentages would not have been reflected in their overall rankings…UChicago’s social mobility ranking is No. 335; the next lowest-ranked school in the top 10 overall rankings is Yale, at No. 285. Columbia, the highest-rated top school in social mobility, is No. 138.”

Why do our readers think the University of Chicago slipped in the 2020 US News & World Report college rankings? Do our readers think UChicago will bounce back to #3 next year or will the school slip further down the rankings? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!


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  • reality says:

    Well #3 seemed quite inflated for UChicago anyway, but does it really matter? How many students pick UChicago over HYPSM even with its #3 ranking? Similarly how many students pick Columbia over HYPSM even with its #3-#5 ranking in recent years? And how many people chose Penn over HYPSM in the 2000s given its #4-#5 ranking at that period? In each case the answer is very very few.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      We don’t disagree with you.

    • Steve says:

      This argument is terribly illogical. First the US rankings are not based on popularity of colleges alone. There is no reason that the most popular college should top the ranking. If popularity among applicants were the sole criteria, state flagships would rank much higher. It does seem though that the comment writer believes that ranking should solely be based on popularity, which no sane student would agree with

      Another thing the comment writer overlooks is that with all the different admission rounds, there is actually very little overlap in admitted students between any of these schools. Much of the decisions on where to go is made during the binding early rounds.

      Chances are that a student picking Penn ED has already made a decision on which school he or she likes best and when they apply ED, they have indeed picked Penn over HYPSM for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter why they did it. The fact they did it is the only thing that matters.

      A school that is able to convince an applicant to walk away from another school for the chance of securing a binding spot in that school has already won the game. Why bother with a bake off, when you don’t have to compete.

      At the level of the elites, cross admit rates are miniscule and irrelevant.

  • Bev says:

    Why does Ivy Coach focus so much on the US News rankings?

  • god says:

    US News rankings are meaningless. Giving weight to non-academic factors just to keep the usual suspects at the top seems quite irrelevant.

  • sam says:

    Uchicago is ranked higher than YPC globally by two our of three most influenced ranking agencies

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