Lots of discussion lately about rankings. How important are they, really? For better or worse, most students (and alumni, for that matter) pay attention to where their school falls in the US News & World Report annual list.
The latest US News Best Law Schools ranking was released this week, and BC Law moved up two spots to #29, improving its overall score from 63 to 67. Yay! BC also moved up in a few specialty categories: Tax (#14), Clinical Training (#24) and Environmental Law (#24).
There was more controversy than usual this year, with US News initially releasing a new diversity ranking and then recalculating it and then pulling it off their site entirely. Further, they had to recalculate their overall ranking just a day before it was released, removing a metric on librarian’s “ratio of credit hours of instruction.” Apparently there was more than the usual tinkering with the methodology this year, adding some new measurements of average debt, and reworking how library resources are measured.
Maybe it’s just me, but they don’t seem to have hit a home run with all these changes. So does this mark the beginning of the end for US News rankings dominance? Probably not, but stay tuned.
Read more about the ranking in the BC Law Magazine story.
Devon Sanders is a second-year student, and vice president of the Impact blog. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who among us doesn’t love dwelling on student debt and competitive school rankings?
U.S. News & World Report is among the many institutions that releases an annual law school ranking list. The results, unsurprisingly, matter to law school students, alumni, and faculty. I know that many prospective students are currently receiving acceptances from many great law schools and will have to make final decisions in the coming months (and I hope they all choose BC Law). Surely, those students have to be looking at such ranking lists, and I don’t blame them. I certainly did when I made my decision. To the extent that rankings accurately capture a school’s merit, naturally we all want to be members of the best educational institution possible – and of course, there’s no doubt that prestige is a useful tool to have under your belt in many walks of life.
Just this time last year, amidst the upheaval and uncertainty that Covid-19 was just beginning to render on all of our lives, Dean Rougeau wrote to the BC Law community in order to address the U.S. News 2020 rankings, noting how competitive the scoring margins are among excellent law schools but nevertheless pledging BC’s commitment “to providing the very best legal education within our mission of educating lawyers for the greater good.” BC Law’s ranking (tied at #31) is something to take pride in, but there is something more going on here than that number captures. So much of the law school experience is driven by brutal, lifeless numbers: rankings, scholarships, LSAT scores, GPAs, final exam scores, bell curves, class rankings, class percentiles, and so on. It’s a bit reductionist. Whatever it is that sets BC Law apart is intangible, but I think it lives in that commitment to the greater good.
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In February of 2019 I was a senior in college in my final semester. I was also an intern at NBC Sports Boston—an awesome opportunity that I really enjoyed. I’ll admit it—I’m a huge sports fan. Not just in the sense that I watch a lot of games, but in the sense that I have a framed, autographed photo of Patriots running back James White scoring the game winning touchdown in the greatest comeback in NFL history (Super Bowl LI, which I attended) mounted in my living room. This photo is next to David Ortiz’ #34 jersey, which is next to an autographed Tim Thomas hat, next to an autographed team photo of the world champion 2007-08 Boston Celtics.
Are you getting the picture?
So it goes without saying that I was beyond thrilled when I actually got to help cover Super Bowl LIII—the final championship of the Brady-Belichick era, a run of success so long it stretched back from when I was in preschool, to when I was getting ready to graduate from college. It was a fitting ending on a number of fronts.
But in the back of my mind, I knew trouble was on the horizon.
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Yesterday, U.S. News World & Report announced its 2017 list of “Best Law Schools.” Boston College Law School rose (again) this year, up four spots to #30.
Here is a letter sent out to the BC Law community from our Dean, Vincent Rougeau, commenting on the rise in the ranks:
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Yesterday, US News & World Report published the 2016 installment of its annual ranking of top law schools across the United States. BC Law moved up two spots from its 2015 ranking to number 34, putting it into a six-way tie with BYU, Fordham, Indiana, Ohio State and UNC.
The merits of the methodology used to determine these lists, and indeed the idea of rankings themselves, are always debated. Unsurprisingly, most people tend to favor the lists that rank their schools most highly, especially if the disparities are at all notable. For example, while BC Law moved up to number 34 in the US News, that ranking still falls far below its place on Above the Law‘s list: Continue reading →