NU graduate schools drop in U.S. News rankings

Rani Gupta and Rani Gupta

Three Northwestern graduate schools’ rankings dropped slightly in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools 2003” issue released Monday.

The Kellogg Graduate School of Management dropped from No. 3 to No. 5, the McCormick Graduate School of Science and Applied Engineering moved from No. 18 to No. 20 and the Feinberg School of Medicine dropped from No. 20 to No. 22.

The Law School was the only school to improve its ranking, from No. 13 to No. 11. The Graduate School of Education and Social Policy’s No. 10 ranking remained unchanged.

Kellogg Director of Admissions Michele Rogers said she expects little change in Kellogg’s number of applicants because of the school’s solid reputation.

“Once you’re among the top handful, you have a quality education and excellent resources,” she said. “We feel very comfortable with our position.”

Rogers said Kellogg applications increased 25 percent for the 2002-03 school year, one year after Kellogg’s U.S. News ranking jumped two places. But Rogers attributed the increase to the national economic recession, not the change in rankings.

Law School Dean David Van Zandt attributed the school’s improvement to its emphasis on collaborative education and strict admissions standards.

The Law School’s increased focus on interviews has bolstered its reputation among employers, he said. The school interviewed 2,400 of its 4,200 applicants this year, including all students currently finishing undergraduate degrees.

Additionally, Van Zandt said 80 percent of the students said they had at least one year of work experience.

Rankings influence students’ decisions to apply to law school, he said.

“I think our applicants are very intelligent,” he said. “They give it the proper weight. It’s not the be-all, end-all, but it’s important.”

Students said magazine rankings have at most a moderate effect on their choice of schools.

“When I was first looking at schools, I looked at rankings, but I also looked for schools with professors that are interested in research,” said Marc Meredith, a Weinberg senior planning to apply to a graduate economic program.

“What’s more important than a ranking is talking to people who have been to (the) school, and finding a school that is good in the areas you’re looking for,” said Gita Suneja, a Weinberg senior considering law school.