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U.S. News Debuts Comparison of Reputation to Performance

U.S. News and World Report has come out with an interesting new analysis that seems to give a nod to concern that reputation isn't everything and applicants should look closely beyond the rankings choices.

The magazine on Friday published a first-ever list of colleges in its National Universities ranking category that are overperforming or underperforming in their undergraduate academics, compared to their overall ranking.

Robert Morse of U.S.News explains that if a school's undergraduate academic reputation is not as good as its overall ranking, the institution might be doing well on other measures, such as admissions selectivity, financial and faculty resources, alumni giving, and graduation and retention rates. Or, perhaps, it's not recognized for its achievement yet by its peers.

Many underperformers identified by the magazine are large, public flagships universities.

In contrast, those doing-better-than-expected schools tend to be smaller private enterprises.

The explanation for schools labeled as "overperforming" is that the school's performance in the key academic indicators used by U.S. News is not keeping pace with its academic reputation. Or, it could be that the college's graduate school reputation is helping boost the undergraduate programs.

Here are highlights from the new analysis:

Top 10 Overperformers:
Adelphi University (N.Y.)
Ashland University (Ohio)
University of St. Thomas (Minn.)
Stevens Institute of Technology (N.J.)
St. Mary's University of Minnesota
Azusa Pacific University (Calif.)
Edgewood College (Wis.)
University of Tulsa (Okla.)
Yeshiva University (N.Y.)
Biola University (Calif.)

Top 10 Underperformers
Arizona State University
University of Arizona
University of Illinois at Chicago
Virginia Commonwealth University
University of Montana
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
University of Colorado at Boulder
George Mason University (Va.)
University of New Mexico
University of Oregon

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