Seton Hall is ranked 118 in the newest U.S. World News ranking of colleges and universities across the country.
SHU has climbed five places since the 2016 ranking of 123 in the “2017 Best Colleges” category.
The University continues to rise in rankings annually. In 2011, SHU ranked 136. Since then, the University has climbed a handful of spots every new list of rankings.
Dr. Robert Kelchen, assistant professor of Higher Education, said in an email interview, “The goal is to eventually end up in the top 75.”
Kelchen said the new ranking is “a step in the right direction,” and that, to the University, “U.S. News rankings are much more a measure of prestige than educational quality.”
Dr. Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management, said in an email interview that as the incoming classes’ SAT scores rise, SHU’s rank will also rise. There has been an improvement in SAT scores, the percentage of students in the top 10 percent of their class and six-year graduation rates, McCloud said.
The U.S. News & World Report’s website acknowledges that everything a college has to offer cannot possibly be perfectly translated into data points and rankings.
A U.S. World & News Report article titled “How U.S. News Calculated the 2017 Best Colleges Rankings,” discusses this point.
The article said that, “for families concerned with finding the best academic value for their money, the U.S. News ‘Best Colleges’ rankings provide an excellent starting point for the search.”
“First-year student retention, graduation rates, and strength of the faculty” are all significant factors for the experts who rank national colleges and universities, according to the article.
Jillian Sczczpanski, a freshman occupational therapy major, said she looked at the college rankings but that is not the sole reason she chose to go to SHU. “I chose Seton Hall for ranking as well as SHU’s proximity to home, the opportunities for my major, and the campus environment.”
Seton Hall is included in the “National Universities” rank because of SHU’s wide range of more than 60 majors available to undergraduates, as well as the numerous graduate, doctoral, and research opportunities available to students.
“More people listen to these rankings than will admit to doing so,” Kelchen said. “A fairly high percentage of students considering attending selective colleges look at these rankings, and colleges definitely pay attention to the rankings.”
Erle Alberto, a freshman occupational therapy major, said he did not use the college rankings to help make a decision. “I feel like deciding on a college is based on what the school offers the individual. Plus, if you can’t see yourself attending a school based off a college visit, then it is pretty easy to decide that the college isn’t for you,” Alberto said. “Going to a college where you don’t enjoy the environment will just, in my eyes, make you miserable and not enjoy the college experience.”
While some students may or may not use the rankings in their decision, the rankings do help compare schools.
“Universities like Rutgers, Stevens, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota are ranked around 75th this year,” Kelchen, said. “These are much wealthier institutions with large research programs.”
In this recent ranking, Seton Hall beat The Catholic University of America, DePaul University, The University of Arizona, Hofstra, St. John’s, and The New Jersey Institute of Technology.
SHU’s new medical school will push the University up in the rankings, Kelchen said.
Megan O’Malley can be reached at email@example.com.