EC rankings have dropped according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report released on September 10.
These rankings are compiled from over 1,800 colleges and universities across the country and consist of four categories: Regional Universities Midwest, Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Undergraduate Teaching, and Best Value Schools.
In every category, EC has dropped in rankings. The most significant drop is in the Best Regional Universities category where EC is ranked at number 20—a move from the 2018 ranking of number 11. In Best Value, EC has moved down from number 13 to number 20. For the Best Colleges for Veterans section, the rankings have been lowered from number 9 to number 13.
In the 2018 rankings, EC had for the first time reached a top spot in the Best Undergraduate Teaching category. With these new rankings for 2019, the college has dropped to number 11.
According to the U.S. News, rankings are based on 16 indicators of academic quality including graduation and retention rates, university financial resources, student academics, alumni giving, and, as of this year, social mobility factors.
The criteria that weighs the most in determining these rankings are a college’s retention and graduation rates, as mentioned on the U.S. News website.
With the U.S. News formula putting a greater emphasis on student graduation and retention, April Edwards, EC vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty believes the college was put at a disadvantage.
“First and second year retention dropped a little bit in the last couple of years,” said Edwards. “They use a rolling average for retention rate ... and because we had a 75% retention rate last year, we lost a few points in that area.”
“Rankings are not the thing that drives us, but there are some things that align with our strategic plan that will also help us improve in the rankings,” explained Edwards.
The strategic plan does highlight issues involving student graduation and retention and proposes solutions. The strategic plan will also attempt to benefit EC in ways that the U.S. News does not factor in its equation.
“[The U.S News] look at a handful of numbers without really having a good understanding of what’s going on in any of these campuses,” said Edward. “I would like to see them factor in more information about the close relationships our students have with faculty and how many internships and research experiences students are doing outside of class.”
EC freshman Huda Khan agreed.
“Rankings aren’t everything because Elmhurst has a smaller classroom size,” said Khan. “I have more interactions with faculty and better research opportunities.”