Which Universities Are More Highly Ranked by High School Counselors Than by Colleges Officials?

US News

Do high school counselors and college officials view universities differently? To answer this question, U.S. News is publishing a first-ever analysis of colleges in our National Universities rankings category that shows the academic reputation rankings gap between high school and college officials in our 2013 Best Colleges rankings.

How should these results be interpreted?

If a school is more highly ranked by high school counselors than by college officials for its undergraduate academic reputation, it means that the school's undergraduate reputation among its academic peers is lagging behind the evaluation of the school by high school counselors.

If a school is less highly ranked by high school counselors than by college officials for its undergraduate academic reputation, it means that the school's undergraduate reputation among its academic peers is considerably greater than the view of the school held by high school counselors.

The universities that are more highly ranked by high school counselors are generally either smaller research universities or schools that have heavy concentrations of programs in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). The universities that are more highly ranked by college officials than by high school counselors are all very large public universities--in some cases the top "flagship" public in their state.

For National Universities, the U.S. News ranking formula gives the high school counselor reputation a weight of 7.5 percent in the rankings, and the academic reputation peer score has a weight of 15 percent in the overall ranking model. Peer assessments are subjective, but they are also important because a diploma from a distinguished college helps graduates get good jobs or gain admission to top-notch graduate programs.

Only schools that were numerically ranked National Universities in the Best Colleges 2013 rankings were included in this analysis.

More highly ranked by high school counselors than by college officials

The table below shows the top schools in the National Universities ranking category where a school's 2013 Best Colleges high school counselor rank was better than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of ranking places.

School name (state) U.S. News National Universities rank Academic peer assessment rank High school counselor rank Difference in rank between high school and college officials
St. Mary's University of Minnesota 174 238 89 +149
Maryville University of St. Louis 160 247 155 +92
University of St. Thomas (MN) 113 171 89 +82
Biola University (CA) 174 247 180 +67
Polytechnic Institute of New York University 139 151 89 +62
Missouri University of Science & Technology 125 151 89 +62
Louisiana Tech University 199 213 155 +58
University of San Diego 92 118 66 +52
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA) 65 106 58 +48
Azusa Pacific University (CA) 179 247 202 +45
Edgewood College (WI) 179 247 202 +45
Loyola University Chicago 106 106 66 +40
University of Texas--Dallas 151 151 111 +40
New Jersey Institute of Technology 139 151 111 +40
Oklahoma State University 139 151 111 +40
Michigan Technological University 120 151 111 +40

Less highly ranked by high school counselors than by college officials

This table shows the top schools in the National Universities ranking category where a school's 2013 Best Colleges high school counselor rank was less than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of ranking places.

School name U.S. News National Universities rank Academic peer assessment rank High school counselor rank Difference in rank between high school and college officials
University of Cincinnati 139 118 202 -84
University of Central Florida 174 171 248 -77
University of South Florida 170 151 220 -69
West Virginia University 165 151 220 -69
University of Hawaii--Manoa 156 134 202 -68
Arizona State University 139 70 131 -61
University of Nebraska--Lincoln 101 70 131 -61
University of Arizona 120 59 111 -52
University of Utah 125 82 131 -49
University of California--Riverside 101 82 131 -49
University of Florida 54 44 89 -45
Stony Brook University--SUNY 92 70 111 -41
University of Nevada--Reno 189 197 238 -41
University of Maryland--Baltimore County 160 118 155 -37
University at Albany--SUNY 131 118 155 -37
University at Buffalo--SUNY 106 94 131 -37
Florida State University 97 94 131 -37
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