Thanks to significant improvements in admissions selectivity and other factors, Case Western Reserve’s School of Law posted a five-point gain in this spring’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, to No. 59—the largest increase of any of the university programs assessed in 2015.
“Credit for this progress goes to our entire community—faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends—all of whom devoted enormous time and energy to the school,” Interim Deans Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf said in a statement. “In addition, our 2014 admissions improvements would not have been possible without the university’s willingness to provide additional assistance during an extraordinarily challenging year for law schools around the country.”
In 2014, the law school admitted just a third of its applicants, down from nearly half the previous year. Students’ average scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) also climbed, as did students’ passage rate on the Ohio state bar examination and their rates of employment nine months after graduation. In terms of its specialty rankings, the school’s health law program remained in the top 10 at No. 9, while the international law program climbed four slots, to 11th. While overall rankings emerge from a range of qualitative and quantitative factors, specialty standings depend solely on peers’ votes.
Peer voting previously also decided the standing of schools not ranked each year, but this spring nursing schools found themselves judged by much more than a single category. In 2011, the last time the magazine assessed nursing schools, balloting among deans, administrators and faculty decided where schools ranked. This time, factors such as acceptance rates and federal research funds determined the outcome. For the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, the new approach led to a ranking of 17th, two notches below where the school stood four years ago.
The Case School of Engineering, meanwhile, was part of a modest rankings reshuffle that illustrates just how narrow the margins can be when schools battle for position. This year, the school increased its overall score (the sum of weighted figures for all of the categories, with a maximum of 100) one point over last year’s figure, yet still slipped a notch in the rankings, to 47th. Last spring, the engineering school had been among seven schools tied for 46th. Of the other six, two moved up three spots, one fell a notch, two fell three slots, and one tumbled down eight positions. In other words, the schools tied last year now ranked between 43 and 54—11 slots. How much did their actual scores vary (out of a possible total of 100)? From 38 to 41.
The Weatherhead School of Management, meanwhile, improved to 63rd, two slots up from last year’s ranking. The school improved its recruiter rankings, average undergraduate grade point average and GMAT score, and also made gains in the percentage of students employed at graduation. The Weatherhead School’s part-time MBA program ranked 29th, up 17 notches from the previous year—when it fell from 30th to 46th. Weatherhead School officials attributed the jump in the rankings to increased selectivity during the admissions process and a focus on enhancing the reputation for quality of the program.
Finally, medicine slipped one position, to 24th, despite improving its acceptance rate a full percentage point (to 7.9 percentage) and its median undergraduate grade point average a one-hundredth of a point (to 3.74).
For a full list of rankings, visit the U.S. News website.