CWRU climbs to 38th in U.S. News’ Best Colleges 2012 Rankings

Case Western Reserve University climbed three slots this year to rank 38th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2012 Edition. The increase came after four consecutive years where the school ranked 41st on the magazine’s list.

“I am delighted that the hard work of people across this campus is being recognized nationally,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “Lists like these are often lagging indicators, in that gains made in one year often are not reflected in the data until much later. We have known for some time that we have been making significant progress at Case Western Reserve. It is gratifying to see those achievements reflected in our ranking.”

Earlier this year the university announced that its alumni and friends had broken the all-time annual fundraising record by nearly $3 million. The $126.2 million in cash and pledges for fiscal year 2011 also exceeded the previous year’s total by more than $10 million.

In 2011 the university also set a new record for undergraduate applications, collecting almost 13,400—an increase of more than 44 percent. The application gains drew notice in The New York Times blog The Choice, and later helped persuade the online newspaper The Huffington Post to name Case Western Reserve as one of the nation’s nine “Trendiest Colleges,” a list that included Yale and Columbia. The Huffington Post described Case Western Reserve as a “school that flies under the academic radar… but shouldn’t.”

The growth in 2011 in philanthropy and applications is not reflected in the results U.S. News announces this week. That said, earlier improvements in selectivity certainly contributed to the increase. For the data cited in these current rankings, Case Western Reserve:

  • reduced the percentage of applicants admitted by three percentage points (70 to 67);
  • increased the percentage of freshmen from the top 10 percent of their high school class by two percent (65 to 67);
  • improved its graduation rate by one percentage point (91 to 92); and
  • enhanced its ranking for overall financial resources (27th to 26th).

“The many categories used for these rankings highlight just how many different parts of a university have to come together for the institution to flourish,” Snyder said. “I am deeply grateful for the effort, energy and collaborative spirit that permeate this campus, and for the results they have allowed us to achieve.”

Best Colleges 2012 also includes rankings of undergraduate business and engineering programs as voted on by academic leaders in those specific disciplines. The Weatherhead School of Management saw its ranking climb from 34th to 28th this year, while the Case School of Engineering fell from 40th to 42nd.

The U.S. News’ Best Colleges 2012 announcement comes two weeks after The Washington Monthly ranked Case Western Reserve seventh in the country in its list of universities that contribute to the public good. The Washington Monthly editors in particular cited the university community’s commitment to service.