U.S. News & World Report released new rankings for the Top 14 Law Schools and Top 15 Medical Schools on Tuesday, only months after many schools had dropped out of rankings because they were unreliable.
U.S. News claimed to have a new method of addressing criticism, but the results were strikingly the same.
Yale Law School which sparked the exodus in November when it dropped out, has retained its No. The University of Chicago maintained its No. Columbia University dropped from No. 3 to No. 8. Columbia dropped to No. 8 from No. No. 4 is tied with University of Virginia.
In medicine, changes have been more volatile. Johns Hopkins University climbed to the top of the list for research. Harvard is now ranked third, replacing the number three ranking. University of Pennsylvania replaced New York University in second place.
Harvard is the first medical school that has dropped out of the rankings. Columbia, Stanford University, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Chicago are also no longer in the top 100.
Heather Gerken is the dean of Yale Law. She was not pleased with the new rankings.
'Yale Law School never paid any attention to U.S. News & World Report's rankings and everything we've seen in the last year has only cemented our decisions to walk away', she said.
The boycott spread to 12 of top 14 law schools except Cornell University and University of Chicago.
Universities may struggle to maintain their influence despite the decline in rankings. Many students have come to rely on the U.S. News rankings when making educational decisions. They are also used by lesser-known universities, outside the top 14 or 15.
The publication, in a recent campaign of public relations, accused schools of avoiding accountability for admissions and results, and linked the boycott with a Supreme Court ruling that could end affirmative actions.
In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Eric J. Gertler wrote that some law deans were already looking for ways to avoid any restrictive rulings by reducing the emphasis they place on test scores and grades - criteria that are used in our ranking.
U.S. News made a few concessions, including incorporating some of the criticisms leveled at the old system by medical and law administrators. Yale and other law schools said that the rankings were not reliable and affected educational priorities because they devalued the efforts made by their schools to recruit students from the working and poor classes. The law schools, led by Yale, also claimed that the rankings penalized those who chose to enter low-paid public services after graduation.
Kate O'Donnell said that the publication would provide more details on the new methodology next week when the complete rankings are released. Kate O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for the publication, said that she would not comment about any shifts in positions by specific schools. However, she added: 'There has also been a significant improvement in the methodology which focuses on outcomes.
Robert Morse is the chief data strategist at U.S. News. He said that the changes in the rankings "reflect the insight and input of over 100 law school deans, as well as other legal experts across the nation."
U.S. News was forced to reconsider its sources of data because many top schools no longer cooperated with rankings. In some cases, U.S. News turned to publicly-available data instead of data supplied by universities. U.S. News announced the new rankings for medical schools, citing data collected from surveys submitted in 2023 or 2022 in the absence of later data. It also included metrics that were publicly available from the National Institutes of Health.
The boycott sparked a lot of debate and soul-searching among students and universities about the ranking's value. Some of those who criticized the boycott argued that it was easier for schools such as Harvard and Yale not to cooperate with the rankings. However, the rankings were still a valuable resource for students looking to apply to less well-known schools.
Peter B. Rutledge said that his law school will continue to take part in the rankings, as they are a good source of information for consumers and have helped his school gain positive recognition.
U.S. News announced that it had made significant changes to its methodology, including an increase in weighting of bar passage rates and employment for 10 months following graduation.
The law schools were particularly pleased that the full credit was given for long-term, full-time fellowships, including those funded by their school, and for graduate studies.
The emphasis is also less on the median LSAT/GRE test scores or grade point averages, as well as on the institution's reputation.
The changes for medical schools included adding National Institutes of Health grants as a measure of quality of research, and reducing the importance of institutional reputation, MCAT test results, and grade point scores.
U.S. News only released a 'preview list' of the Top 14 Law Schools and Top 15 Medical Schools on Tuesday. It said that these were the schools receiving the most attention. The full ranking report would be released on April 18.