Hopkins is once again a top 10 national university, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, which were released on Monday. The University is tied for 10th place with Northwestern University.
Though Hopkins held 10th place in both the 2016 and 2017 rankings, it fell to 11th place in last year’s U.S. News & World Report. The Biomedical Engineering program at Hopkins, which fell from first to second during last year’s rankings, is back at first place in the U.S. News rankings.
Senior Sasha Gorelik, who will be applying to medical schools after she graduates, wrote in an email to The News-Letter that she has never been invested in university rankings.
“The difference between 11 and 10 is not a big deal to me, and I don’t think it changes anything about the University, with the exception of getting a couple more applications from some high school students,” she wrote. “It doesn’t change my feelings about the University or how I will leverage my undergraduate experiences for medical school applications.”
Senior Alyssa Remshak agreed, explaining that she believes the student body would not have noticed the change in ranking as much if it had not brought Hopkins into the top 10.
“I feel like moving up or down one spot is a little arbitrary,” she said.
Remshak added that while applying to jobs and internships, she found that even the companies that seemed to care about which university she attended did not differentiate between any of the top 20 institutions.
According to the U.S. News press release that accompanied the rankings, the report no longer takes acceptance rate and selectivity into account when evaluating schools. The press release also stated that the rankings no longer take factors like standardized test scores into account.
Instead, U.S. News says, the rankings are shifting their focus to graduation rates and retention rates, social mobility and “how well schools succeed at enrolling and graduating students from low-income families.”
The rankings still take into account factors such as faculty resources and the amount of money that the university spends on its students.
Though Hopkins is 10th in the National Universities category, it is 43rd in undergraduate education, tied with eight other universities.
Senior Cassidy Speller was unsure why the University’s place in the rankings changed so frequently during the past few years, but she speculated that the loss of covered grades could have been what made Hopkins look more competitive to U.S. News.
Speller believes that instead of focusing its energy on trying to rise through the rankings, Hopkins should be paying more attention to the needs of its community.
“I don’t really understand the hype around it,” she said. “More energy should be devoted to actually making the school better for students and, specifically, making it better for Baltimore instead of basking in the glory of this random list.”
According to Speller, the criteria that ranking websites like U.S. News use fail to emphasize aspects of student life like mental health facilities and student satisfaction.
“The school you attend isn’t really representative of your intelligence or your ability to succeed or how good you are as a person,” Speller said. “[Top 10] just gives the University a weird feeling of satisfaction that the things they do to improve the school and its reputation are working, when there are a lot of other things that could be better.”
Speller, who plans on applying to graduate school, does not believe that coming from a higher-ranked university will improve her chances of getting in.
“One of the obvious benefits of attending an ‘elite school’ is that at a glance people will assume you’re smart or hardworking,” she said. “For grad school, I think it’s more about the individuals and what they’re able to do, because plenty of people who go to non-elite schools get into really great grad schools.”
Freshman Aashna Sundesha shared how she reacted when she found out she was attending a top 10 school.
“I think it’s really cool to be in a top 10 school. I didn’t really know about it until it started popping up on social media platforms but I was quite excited,” she said.
However, she felt conflicted because of how low Hopkins was in the undergraduate education rankings. Sundesha’s decision to apply to Hopkins, she said, was affected more by the high ranking of the Writing Seminars program than overall national rankings.
The University’s position in the Times Higher Education world university rankings remains unchanged at 13th.