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

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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