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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    National rankings matter

    It’s no secret that the UA is slipping when compared to the rest of the Pac-12. No, not on the football field, although that too is embarrassingly apparent. The UA is lagging behind when it comes to its fellow institutions in relation to national rankings based on retention, acceptance and graduation rates.

    The US News and World Report recently released its most up-to-date rankings, and the UA slipped from 120th to 124th this year. That places it among the bottom of the Pac-12 schools, ranked only ahead of Arizona State University (132nd) and Oregon State University(138th).

    Vice President of Student Affairs, Melissa Vito, told the Daily Wildcat that the UA doesn’t want to “play to the rankings”, but perhaps the UA had better start paying attention to them to avoid slipping further. While you can argue that the US News rankings are highly subjective and don’t analyze all the aspects of a successful college, you can’t deny that the rankings matter to incoming students and their parents.

    The Arizona Board of Regents chooses to compare the UA to its “peer institutions” rather than fellow Pac-12 schools. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that the UA will forever be grouped in with our conference. Yes, the UA most certainly can’t compete with Stanford in these rankings, but that doesn’t mean the regents get to cherry-pick who our “peers” are.

    Ultimately, the three criteria US News bases its rankings on (retention, acceptance and graduation rates) are highly relevant to a college’s success. Discount them all you want, but a college that accepts just about anyone with a high school diploma and a completed application, but can’t get them to stay or complete their degree isn’t exactly among the prime colleges.

    While there’s more to a college than its rank, that doesn’t mean the ranking doesn’t matter or that it doesn’t influence potential students. Until the UA recognizes this, and compares itself to both its “peer institutions” and those in the conference, we will continue to see mediocrity and low rankings.

    — Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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