Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 4, 2022

Hopkins jumps to seventh in U.S. News & World Report's national university rankings

By HELEN LACEY | September 13, 2022

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COURTESY OF MIN-SEO KIM

Students expressed mixed feelings about the importance of college rankings. 

The University ranked seventh in the nation according to the 2022–2023 U.S. News & World Report national university rankings published Sept. 11. This is a jump from the university’s previous position at ninth, which it maintained for two consecutive years. Hopkins is now tied with the University of Pennsylvania. 

U.S. News & World Report relies on a variety of differently weighted metrics, ranging from undergraduate academic reputation to financial resources per student to determine college rankings. The system has faced criticism for the placing greater weight on metrics such as institutional wealth, rather than on social mobility.

Hopkins also ranks as the ninth best value school in the nation, ties with University of Maryland, Baltimore County as the tenth most innovative school in the nation and ties with multiple universities as 326th in top performers on social mobility.

In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore Claire Kim discussed the arbitrary nature of college rankings. 

“Ranking is not bad, but at the same time schools have so many different things to offer that it’s kind of hard to put it in ranking,” she said. “If you look at individual levels, Hopkins can be number one for someone, and for some other people it might be their worst nightmare.”

Kim also speculated that the increase in the University’s ranking could be related to Hopkins’ involvement in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“COVID might have actually impacted [the University's] status as a school in a positive way, because Hopkins was very important in all the data and public health stuff,” she said.

In an email to The News-Letter, junior Jiewan Hong emphasized that new research coming from Hopkins in the past few years might have positively influenced Hopkins’ prestige.

“The university is the #1 research university for a reason and it clearly shows, especially in the last 3 years,” he wrote. “It is a proven fact that research coming from Hopkins, regardless of undergraduate and graduate programs, have been helpful in bettering the United States and even the entire world.”

The University was not the only school whose ranking shifted this year. Notably Columbia University dropped from second to 18th due to issues with the validity and accuracy of data that Columbia University previously provided. 

Regardless of the driving forces behind the University’s increased rank, rankings play an important role in the college decisions of some students. Hong described the influence of college rankings in his choice to attend Hopkins.

“Rankings did have a big impact in my decision to come to Hopkins,” he wrote. “I wanted to challenge myself with rigorous academic life while attending a top-10 university.”

Sophomore Ariel Li explained how college rankings also played a factor in her decision to attend the University in an interview with The News-Letter.

“It only came into play when I was in between two different schools, and Hopkins was ranked higher,” she said. “They were similar enough programs, and I liked both schools.”

In an interview with The News-Letter, senior Olivia Hanselman echoed Li’s sentiments about the limited importance of college rankings, noting that ranking systems like U.S. News & World Report do not directly take into account student happiness.

The University’s Biomedical Engineering (BME) program that has continually maintained its ranking as the top undergraduate BME program in the nation on the U.S News & World Report’s rankings. 

Hanselman described how the University’s reputation attracted her to apply to the school, but ultimately was not a deciding factor in her choice to attend Hopkins.

“I actually hadn’t really heard of Johns Hopkins before I started looking for colleges to apply to, but then I looked up BME programs and obviously [Hopkins] came up, so I guess in that regard the ranking influenced my internet searches,” she said. “I went with Hopkins because I really enjoyed the campus when I toured it; the people were really nice.”

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