U.S. News and World Report named UC Berkeley the top-ranked public school among national universities for the 19th consecutive year.
In the publication’s 2017 Best Colleges rankings, released Sept. 13, five other UC schools landed among the top 10 alongside UC Berkeley, with UCLA ranking second. On the report’s Best National Universities list, which includes private colleges, UC Berkeley ties for 20th with Emory University and Georgetown University.
Campus freshman Lara Ostertag said she mainly based her decision to attend UC Berkeley on the programs offered here but that the ranking helped her choose.
“It’s good to be in a rigorous, academically challenging environment,” Ostertag said. “Because it’s hard to get in, the people here are all very ambitious.”
U.S. News and World Report bases its rankings on 15 different factors meant to gauge academic quality, including each school’s graduation rates and overall undergraduate academic reputation. Other factors assessed include class sizes and retention rate for first-year students, according to its online methodology report.
Campus doctoral student Scott Rubin said the quality of an education is more complex than is reflected by the rankings.
“These rankings are mainly for … the university to pat itself on the back,” Rubin said. “I think those rankings are not made for us, they’re made for employers who are scouting.”
For UC Berkeley, the freshman retention rate stands at 97 percent, in contrast to an average of 86.9 percent among all numerically ranked national universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report website.
“There’s no doubt that the campus has faced challenges over the past several years and that we’re in a time of transition, but the kind of experience that Berkeley provides remains constant,” campus spokesperson Michael Dirda said. “These rankings illustrate that (UC) Berkeley continues to be an institution that performs exceptionally well.”