In its annual report on top colleges across the nation, U.S. News & World Report ranked Drake University as the third best university in the Midwest.
“Drake’s strong showing in these rankings has proven that you all (students) made a good choice,” senior admission counselor Lilianna Bernstein said. “The education you are getting is one of the best in the country and has been consistently.”
In March, each university compiles a long list of data to send to U.S. News for rankings like this one. Data includes such things as graduation and retention rates, class sizes, financial data, average ACT scores and high school grade point averages of the most recent incoming class, just to name a few.
However, Drake is ranked behind two of its biggest rivals, Creighton University and Butler University, which are first and second place, respectively. Rachel Boon, director of institutional research and academic compliance, explained that there are subcategories in which Drake scored higher than both of these institutions.
“Our student acceptance rate is higher than both of those other schools, which means that it is harder to get into Drake,” Boon said. “When we look at ranks such as those, we see we are out performing them in ways that are important to us.” Drake’s acceptance rate was measured at 65 percent while Butler’s was 73.2 percent and Creighton’s was 78.3 percent.
“We’re thrilled that we’re third on our own this year, but quite frankly the ratings are somewhat of a beauty contest that I’m not sure means a whole lot in the grand scheme of things,” Tom Delahunt, vice president of admissions and student financial planning.
Boon agrees with Delahunt in that “the U.S. News rankings do not mean as much as most people want it to.”
“There are a lot of things that it does not measure; for example, such as how much students learn,” Boon said. “If learning is a priority than we can’t use the U.S. News ranking to figure out if we’re a good school or not.”
According to Bernstein, this ranking will not change how the admissions office approaches prospective students.
“We’re still looking for top quality students that will enrich the Drake community, but now we can be choosier with the students we admit,” Bernstein said.
Delahunt said that students and faculty should still be somewhat proud of the school’s rank.
“I think for both current and prospective students, this ranking gives them bragging rights,” he said. “To be able to say they’re going to one of the top 10 schools in the (Midwest) is a wonderful thing, whether in regards to family, friends or future employers.”