UM climbs nine spots in annual college rankings

The University of Miami was ranked No. 38 in the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” issue.

“This has truly been a climb to excellence,” UM President Donna E. Shalala said in a press release. “The road to excellence means investments in our students, in our faculty, in our facilities.”

UM rose nine ranks from last year’s survey, where it placed at No. 47. Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc described this rise as a “historic accomplishment.”

“It’s unusual for a university to be able to move that many places once you get into the top 50,” LeBlanc said. “The top 50 institutions are great institutions. It’s very hard to leapfrog any of them, much less nine of them in one year.”

U.S. News & World Report grades colleges and universities using a formula that combines several different measures.

Some of the measures are numerical and document graduation rates, freshmen retention rates, student to faculty ratios and other such factors.

According to an article published in The Miami Herald, UM reached an average SAT score of 1295, a record high for the institution. UM also doubled its number of applicants to almost 26,000. Its six-year graduation rate also reached an all-time high of 80 percent.

Other measures capture the opinions of high school counselors and top administrative officials from other colleges and universities.

According to LeBlanc, the university had been improving in objective measures for the last 10 years, but its reputation among peer institutions and high schools remained the same.

“So every year we would move up a couple of spaces because every year we got a little bit better in each of these areas,” he said. “Our reputation, as measured by that survey, stayed the same.”

This year, UM’s peer institutions finally acknowledged its gains.

“Our average SAT has climbed over a hundred points and the reputation surveys gave us no credit for that,” LeBlanc said. “In one year, it’s as if it all caught up with us.”

Former Student Government (SG) President Brandon Mitchell was thrilled.

“We showed the world what it means to be a Hurricane,” Mitchell said.

Current SG President Nawara Alawa looks forward to seeing UM continue to succeed.

“I think our university’s ability to continually redefine its potential and standard of excellence is inspiring,” she said. “I have no doubt that we will continue to rise in rankings, but never forsake the absolutely unique experience of being a Cane.”