U.S. News tweaks top college rankings

GW will rejoin the ranks of the nation’s top colleges Tuesday, when U.S. News & World Report announces this year’s coveted rankings.

The magazine also slightly tweaked its method to rank colleges this year, giving less weight to the percent of incoming students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

That’s a good sign for GW, which disclosed last year that it had inflated its high school rankings numbers to U.S. News for nearly a decade. GW had reported tabulated 78 percent of the Class of 2015 as top high school students, but that figure was actually 58 percent.

About two-thirds of high schools nationwide don’t rank their students. But GW’s admissions office estimated that admitted students who earned top standardized test scores and grade point averages were in the top 10 percent of their high school class anyway – even if they weren’t ranked.

Bob Morse, the magazine’s director of data research, wrote in a blog post last week that the move is the result of fewer high schools choosing to rank their graduating seniors.

About one-quarter of the school’s selectivity will be based on high school standing, rather than 40 percent as in past years. SAT and ACT scores will now make up 65 percent of that score, up from 50 percent.

Morse also said the rankings will also put a greater emphasis on graduation and retention rates – an area where GW has typically lagged behind its peers.

The University was officially unranked last November, sending shocks around campus and even among top administrators in Rice Hall.

Other top schools, including Emory University and Claremont McKenna College, have also come forward about manipulated students’ test scores, though both remained ranked.

Where do you think GW will land in this year’s rankings? Tell us in the comments.

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