UD No. 6 Best Regional Universities West Ranking

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University of Dallas students on the Mall. Photo by Annabelle Nicholas

On Sept. 13, the University of Dallas was named sixth in the Best Regional Universities West Ranking of The U.S. News and World Report for the second year in a row. 

Four regions divide up the awards: North, South, Midwest and West. The U.S. News & World Report has also recognized UD in other rankings: ninth in Best Value Schools, 17th in Best Colleges for Veterans and 112th in Top Performers on Social Mobility. 

“We are honored to be recognized by these rankings. There is much to celebrate at the University of Dallas, including the record enrollment we’ve achieved this fall, both for first-year students and in cresting 1,500 total undergraduates for the first time,” said President Sanford, according to the UD press release on Sept. 20.

This achievement allows UD to follow a pillar of Sandford’s Strategic Plan to “[build] our reputation and recognition.”

U.S. News & World Report forms the rankings according to criteria expressed as weighted percentages adding up to 100%. The components are as follows: graduation/retention rates, 22%, social mobility, 5%, graduation rates, 8%, undergraduate academic reputation, 20%, faculty resource, 20%, student selectivity, 7%, financial resource, 10%, average alumni giving rate, 3%, and graduate indebtedness, 5%.

Only verified academic data and third-party sources are applied to calculate scientific information, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

UD received an overall score of 72 out of 100. 

UD performed well in faculty resources as a result of a high percentage of classes having fewer than 20 students, said Elizabeth Griffin Smith, the associate vice president for enrollment. Conversely, the evaluation reveals UD’s lagging graduation rates for Pell Grant students with a 13 percentage point difference from the regular graduation rate.

“We have consistently moved up this ranking list over the past decade, thanks to the strides we have made in pre- and post-graduation student success, affordability, incoming student quality and other criteria. This ranking will enable students who don’t have previous connections to UD to learn about the wonderful educational experience that we offer,” said Griffin Smith.

However, Griffin Smith notes the limitations of the rankings because it fails to grasp the abstract advantages of UD in its numerical evaluation. While the recognition promotes the university, the admissions team works to supply a more robust view of UD to the prospective students it attracts.

She believes that the reason for UD’s unprecedented number of 1,500 total undergraduate students is not new marketing, but the test-optional admissions policy. Several other private universities saw a similar phenomenon take place concerning the enrollment of the 2021 freshmen class. 

The future of admissions at UD looks promising in light of the pandemic.

“Recruiting students during the pandemic taught us that there are lots of ways that we can engage with students virtually. While we are glad to have more robust campus visit programs back in place and the opportunity to visit high schools again, we will keep some digital options to ensure that we are expanding our reach as broadly as possible,” Griffin Smith said.

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