by REBECCA HICKOK
U.S. News strives to help students with their search for higher education by producing lists and rankings for benefits of different colleges available on their website. The lists and rankings are reevaluated every year in order to maintain the most accurate information possible. For the 2020 National University Ranking, there were a total of 402 institutions evaluated, and Drake University tied with the University of Kansas for 130th place.
The scoring system used by U.S. News is on a 100-point scale, and an online data form that is sent nationwide for schools to fill out. Data is ensured to be correct by having multiple verifications of the information, as well as having multiple high authority-faculty at the school sign off on the information to ensure it is correct. The U.S. News then reads through the data to find if there are any outliers that seem as though they may be false. Data from each school is compared with their data from the previous year to see if there has been a great increase or decrease in any category.
The survey sent out in the spring of 2019 includes questions on the type of institution, number of students enrolled along with their gender and race, number of full-time and part-time students, grant and loan recipients from 2012 to 2019, the importance of academic and nonacademic factors considered while choosing incoming students, SAT and ACT policies, early admission, transfer admission, student life, academic and nonacademic programs offered, estimated expenses, financial aid and class sizes.
During junior Grace Telling’s college search, she was also considering St. Ambrose University, but decided on Drake based on what they had to offer.
“After touring the campus, it was the one university that stood out to me the most,” Telling said. “I knew I’d want to spend my four years there.”
Telling is not surprised by Drake University’s ranking on the U.S. News 2020 National University Ranking.
Telling said, “To me, Drake seems to be an up and coming school; where it’s ranking across various aspects are increasing.”
Telling believes that Drake could improve their score on the U.S. News National University Ranking by being more invested in inclusion.
“There are many diverse organizations which is great,” Telling said, “but ensuring the inclusion among each organization is just as important.”
In the 2018-19 academic year, Drake University reported that 81% of undergraduate students were white. Although that means there isn’t a very diverse population at Drake when it comes to race, Drake offers a program called Flight to first-year students.
The Flight Program focuses on the experiences of students of color and issues related to racial identity. The goal of this program is to create a community of friends and support to assist first-year students to “take off” for their Drake experience.
While Telling doesn’t find Drake’s placement surprising, first-year Sofia Lopez said she was a little surprised.
“I honestly think we should be rated higher,” Lopez said. “We have challenging classes that make our students think critically.”
Lopez finds that there are many opportunities for scholarships to assist students with tuition, and that faculty is dedicated to helping students be successful.
“I am still new to the Drake experience, but I think more student led activities and organizations would help with the rank of our school,” Lopez said. “We are a small school, but collectively we have a pretty powerful voice.”
Additionally, Lopez thinks that more student involvement would make the environment at Drake better.
“We do a lot of partnering with our community, but I think more volunteering opportunities for all the students and faculty should be made available,” said Lopez.
The national college rankings may be found at usnews.com/education.