Case Western Reserve University retained its spot this year at number 37 in US News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2014 rankings, published on Sept. 10.
The rank remained the same as last year’s after what US News calls “significant changes” to its ranking algorithm. Among the changes that applied to CWRU, graduation and retention rates and average standardized test scores were given more weight, and selectivity and high school class standing of accepted students were given less.
US News calculates its rankings using a combination of objective data collected from each university and peer assessment surveys completed by the president, provost and dean of admissions of other colleges, as well as an academic reputation survey completed by high school counselors.
This is the first year in several that CWRU’s ranking has not increased; in the 2012 rankings, CWRU took number 38, up from 41 in 2011. This year’s rankings brought other increases for CWRU, however: US News now describes CWRU’s admissions as “most selective” (up from “more selective”), accompanied by a six-place jump to no. 36 in the high school counselor’s rankings.
According to Jonathan Wehner, director of recruitment and strategic initiatives, the admissions office works hard to maintain its relationships with high school counselors by meeting in person with counselors and sending out monthly newsletters.
“High school counselors are one of our most important partners in helping identify students who could be a good fit for [CWRU],” he noted.
CWRU’s biggest increase, however, was the 10-place jump over the past two years to 27 for Best Value Colleges, representative of the highest-quality programs available at the lowest net cost after need-based financial aid.
“Students and parents right now are more focused than ever on the value of an education. ‘What do I get?’” Wehner said.
Of CWRU’s class of 2012, 86 percent of the graduates are currently employed or pursuing graduate degrees, and 82 percent of those employed are in jobs related to their degree.
“We’re an institution that can make a really compelling argument that you get a lot,” Wehner said.