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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

U.S. News drops Brandeis to 34

Published: September 2, 2005
Section: News

Brandeis was ranked 34 by U.S. News and World Report magazine among the Nations Top Universities, dropping two places from last years rankings. Harvard and Princeton tied for first. Brandeis has been hovering in the 30s for some time now, fluctuating by one or two places each year, but never breaking into the top 25.

Among schools generally considered competitors to Brandeis, Tufts University was one of the only which showed improvement, moving up one place to 27. NYU, which was tied with Brandeis last year, dropped five places to 37.

In a conversation with The Hoot, Executive Assistant to the University President John Hose pointed to Brandeiss size of endowment as one factor disadvantaging Brandeis in the rankings. However, he said he doesnt think that the rankings have too much significance.

There are several institutions that no matter what information they (U.S. News) get, they have to make certain they stay at the top, Hose said. The year which Cal Tech was ranked first [2001], their reaction was Oh my God, whats gone wrong? Its not supposed to be, its supposed to be Harvard or Princeton or Yale.

The following year, Hose said, U.S. News adjusted their methodology and sure enough next year California Institute of Technology was no longer number one. This year, they are ranked seventh.

…These are beauty contests to a large extent. Does everybody want to do well? Of course, Hose said. Is it better to be up then down? Sure. But just how important is it in the big scheme of things? I dont think its all that significant and I certainly hope that students and parents looking at colleges dont only look at these numbers but many other things because there is a more significant basis on which to make a judgment.

Hose said that it is unclear what can be done to improve Brandeiss rankings. He pointed to the fact that one subjective area of the rankings (Peer assessment) is given considerable weight. He said he believes that this ranking is a little bit phony due to the fact that the peer assessments at different institutions could be done by different personnel who may have little familiarity with peer institutions.

Hose also referred to some statistics compiled by Senior Vice President for Communication Lorna Miles, which showed that several other prominent Universities also dropped in the rankings. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown, and University of Wisconsin dropped two places, University of MichiganAnn Arbor and Boston College dropped three places and University of IllinoisUrbana dropped five.

The Princeton Review, also released their annual rankings, are split by categories, Brandeis ranked in the top 20 in one of them. Brandeis was ranked 20 in the most religious institution category. In previous years, Brandeis was highly ranked in three or four categories.