Drexel University moved up two places in the 2018 version of U.S. News & World Report’s annual 2018 “Best Colleges” rankings, advancing to 94th place on this year’s list of the best national universities. This year’s ranking marks a full decade in which Drexel has placed in the top 100 of 300 national colleges and universities on the publication’s exclusive list.
New this year, however, was Drexel’s ranking in the “Most International Students” category under national universities, coming in at number 27 with 13 percent of the University’s undergraduate student population enrolled from abroad. The University also was ranked 25th on the “Most Innovative Schools” list for national universities.
Drexel was one of only three universities in the Philadelphia region that ranked in the top tier of the list’s 300 total universities and colleges, along with the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University placing at numbers eight and 46, respectively. The University was the highest-ranked Philadelphia-area university on the “Most International Students” list of 45 national universities, with the University of Pennsylvania ranking at number 45. Additionally, Drexel was the only local university to rank for “Most Innovative Schools.”
The “Best Colleges” rankings were influenced by a combination of 16 factors, with the three most impactful categories being six-year graduation rate, fall-to-fall retention rate and graduation rate performance. The first two factors are calculated by averaging the rates from the past four years, with the graduation rate performance based on the most recent six years (minus the predicted graduation rate). Assessment by peers and counselors, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving rate also impacted the rankings.
Though Drexel changed its admission strategy a few years ago to improve retention and graduation rates, the University won’t start to see a major increase in its ranking from these factors until 2023, according to University officials. Improving Drexel’s ranking is a long-term proposition, though this year’s ranking shows that the University is already moving forward in the list.
“As we begin another new academic year, we can be confident that our shared goals for Drexel are showing dividends in so many ways,” noted President John Fry in a letter to Drexel’s trustees.
This year’s rankings also included an emphasis on rewarding colleges and universities that stress science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, long a major focus at Drexel. Indeed, the University was recognized for having one of the best engineering programs in its College of Engineering, ranking number 56 in the category of “Top Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate.” Drexel’s LeBow College of Business also was ranked, appearing at number 109 in the category of “Best Business Programs.”