U.S. News & World Report ranked Georgetown 23rd among national universities, tied with Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), in its 2004 America’s Best Colleges issue. The ranking marks Georgetown’s 16th consecutive year in the top 25. Georgetown improved from 24th to 23rd in this year’s rankings, after having fallen from 23rd to 24th in last year’s survey.

“The U.S. News rankings are something that we always are pleased to be included in, but it’s not something that we take any more seriously than any of the other ways to rank schools out there,” Director of Media Relations Laura Cavender said.

U.S. News ranks schools based on various criteria, including graduation rate, class size, faculty size and reputation. This year marks the first time, however, that U.S. News has declined to factor yield rate into the rankings. In past years, the yield-rate – the percentage of accepted applicants that actually matriculate – had counted for less than two percent of schools’ final rankings. The publication found that colleges were raising their early decision acceptance numbers in order to pad this statistic to improve their ranking.

Still, some students said that the U.S. News ranking system undervalues other factors. “I don’t think that the criteria they use are necessarily what students really care about when applying to colleges,” Jason Crawford (COL ’05) said. “Location is a major factor in deciding where to attend school. Georgetown would jump at least five or six spots in the ranking just because Washington is a great city to attend college in.”

Georgetown fell out of the top 50 in terms of best values, which compares academic quality against tuition. Last year the university placed 49th. However, the university was recognized for its low acceptance rate (21 percent), for which it ranked 22nd, its high graduation rate (89 percent), for which it ranked 3rd, and for outstanding programs in specific fields, including service and study abroad courses.

“We’re happy that we moved up. We’re happy that we were included in service learning and international programs,” Cavender said. “Although we’re happy to be included, it’s not something that would change the way we operate in order to be included.”

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