Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Reputation Rank vs. Overall U.S. News Rank

How do the reputation scores, as determined by U.S. News surveys, compare to the overall rank assigned by U.S. News?  There are some striking discrepancies.  (An explanation of the baroque U.S. News formula for the overall rank is here.)

Schools by Average Reputation Rank (Overall U.S. News Rank)

1.  Yale University (1)

1.5.  Harvard University (3)

2.5.  Stanford University (2)

4.  Columbia University (4)

4.  University of Chicago (6)

6.  University of Virginia (8)

6.5.  New York University (4)

6.5.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (8)

7.5.  University of California, Berkeley (8)

10.  University of Pennsylvania (7)

11.  Duke University (11)

11.  Georgetown University (14)

12.  Cornell University (13)

13.5.  Northwestern University (12)

13.5.  University of Texas, Austin (16)

16.5.  University of California, Los Angeles (15)

16.5.  Vanderbilt University (17)

18.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (27)

20.  George Washington University (19)

20.  University of Iowa (22)

21.  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (19)

22.  Emory University (26)

22.  Washington University, St. Louis (19)

22.  Washington & Lee University (19)

24.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (27)

25.  University of Southern California (17)

26.5.  Boston College (27)

26.5.  University of California, Hastings (43)

26.5.  University of Notre Dame (19)

27.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (32)

27.5.  University of California, Davis (34)

29.  Boston University (24)

30.  College of William & Mary (27)

Schools by Average Reputation Score (average reputation score)

1.  Yale University (4.9)

2.  Harvard University (4.85)

3.  Stanford University (4.8)

4.  Columbia University (4.65)

4.  University of Chicago (4.65)

6.  New York University (4.55)

6.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.55)

6.  University of Virginia (4.55)

9.  University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.4)

11.  Duke University (4.25)

11.  Georgetown University (4.25)

13.  Cornell University (4.15)

14.  Northwestern University (4.1)

14.  University of Texas, Austin (4.1)

16.  University of California, Los Angeles (3.95)

17.  Vanderbilt University (3.9)

18.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (3.75)

19.  George Washington University (3.65)

19.  University of Iowa (3.65)

19.  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3.65)

19.  University of Southern California (3.65)

23.  Emory University (3.6)

23.  Washington & Lee University (3.6)

23.  Washington University, St. Louis (3.6)

26.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (3.55)

27.  Boston College (3.5)

27.  University of California, Davis (3.5)

27.  University of California, Hastings (3.5)

27.  University of Notre Dame (3.5)

27.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (3.5)

There are other oddities.  George Mason and San Diego both rank 49th in reputation among academics, an assessment that understates significantly the strengths of their respective faculties, though in the case of San Diego 49th is a substantial improvement over prior years (suggesting, perhaps, that better sources of information do have an impact).  San Diego, however, is ranked 65th overall, while George Mason, through its, shall we say, careful handling of the other factors that go into the ranking, manages to come out at 37th--probably still too low, relative to the academic merits, but, as the chart above shows, even the U.S. News measure of "academic merits" correlates only roughly with the U.S. News ranking.  The two variables that seem to matter most are size (the bigger, the worse off in the overall ranking compared to reputation:  e.g., Harvard, Georgetown) and private/public status (publics generally fare worse--here there are usually two variables, one related to expenditures [the figure U.S. News no longer prints], and one to student selectivity).  One exception to that generalization is the University of Chicago, which is chronically underranked by U.S. News (relative even to the reputation scores as U.S. News computes them), though the school is both private and small. 

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2006/03/reputation_rank.html

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