Iowa State 85th out of 124 in 2008 magazine ranking

Linsey Lubinus

The results are in, the rankings are out and Iowa State is still in the America’s Best Colleges 2008 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Iowa State is ranked 85th out of 124 in the National Universities: Top Schools ranking. Iowa State tied for 85th place with five other universities including American University, University of Denver, University of Kansas, North Carolina State University, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Private schools take up a large part of the top schools list, including the top 20 spots.

“It would be wonderful if every year you can continue to progress in the rankings, but everybody else is moving too,” said John McCarroll, executive director of university relations.

McCarroll said Iowa State has a committee for looking at the rankings and criteria and making sure they provide accurate data. He said the college is always trying to improve their rankings.

“We are always trying to retain students and work toward graduation,” McCarroll said.

The rankings are determined based on seven different categories of indicators, each with a different weight. The category weighted the highest is peer evaluation. U.S. News & World Report said in an online article that it gives the most weight to people who can judge the school’s abilities.

“The peer assessment survey allows the top academics we consult – presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions – to account for intangibles such as faculty dedication to teaching,” according to the article.

The other categories are retention of freshmen, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

Mark Kushner, dean of the College of Engineering, said the College of Engineering is better than its ranking.

“The quality of the undergraduate education provided by the College of Engineering exceeds that of its ranking. The ranking now solely results from the opinions of other deans of engineering and not from the students who actually experience the college. If the ranking included input from our students and employers of those students, I expect the ranking would be higher,” Kushner said.

According to the Higher Education Research Institute, rankings in national magazines are one of the most important factors in choosing a college, with 16.4 percent of freshmen surveyed citing it as one of the very important reasons for choosing their college. Magazine rankings follows reasons such as very good academic reputation, graduates getting good jobs, and a good reputation for social activities.

Higher Education Research shows that national magazine rankings have gone up in importance since 1995, but still are not one of the main reasons for choosing a school.

“Our ranking is important because for many students and parents it is their first decision point for whether they will consider our college. The rankings also influence companies in choosing whether they will recruit students at a college and the rankings influence federal agencies in making grants to the college,” Kushner said.