By DECLAN MURPHY
A recent list published by US News and World Report, a magazine regarded for its college rankings, has included Fordham University as one of the “A+ Schools for B Students.” Fordham is featured on the list along with 10 other schools, including Syracuse University, Rutgers University and the University of Delaware. The report ranked schools with B student ranges in test scores and GPA. It also compared their national rankings and freshman retention rates.
Fordham’s ranking of number of 58 in US News’ national rankings list, which is a fairly high ranking, contributed to its standing as number 9 out of 11 in the category. While being labeled an A+ school is never a bad thing, I am not certain that Fordham admits mostly B students. Almost all of the students I know maintained an A average in high school and worked hard in order to be accepted by Fordham. I do not think that Fordham’s students are B students. In fact, many of them are among the best and brightest in the country. Fordham’s curriculum, along with its access to one of the greatest resources in the world — New York City — makes the university a top school for a number of reasons, but its students are its best measure of success.
Many of my classmates have expressed their frustration with Fordham’s inclusion in the list and wonder why Fordham, of all schools, was chosen. The “B student school” label seems unfair given that Fordham maintains a very selective admissions process. According to US News, Fordham University’s acceptance rate for Fall 2011 was 42.4 percen—a number that shows Fordham’s admissions staff considers the most qualified applicants.
It is hard to determine how this new list will affect Fordham’s reputation. US News’s lists are widely regarded as the go-to source for college rankings and almost every high school senior consults its rankings when looking at schools they want to apply to or visit. The list might also put Fordham on high school students’ radar as a reachable school that they can get into with less-than-perfect grades. Fordham’s addition to the list is not an entirely bad thing for the university’s reputation and its students. As the old saying goes, “Any press is good press” and Fordham could use some publicity. Although we are located in one of the greatest cities in the world, many people from the tri-state are not familiar with Fordham. I probably would have never visited Rose Hill if it were not for my cousin who decided to come here.
A frustrating aspect of the list done, however, is the wording they use to describe the schools in the article. US News says, “If you’re a good student with less than stellar test scores or a so-so GPA, these are the schools for you.” The idea that Fordham accepts “less than stellar” applications can be misleading to many Fordham students myself included.
It is also entirely untrue in my experience. Fordham being on the list is frustrating because I worked very hard to produce an A average in high school and put a lot of effort into getting a Fordham acceptance letter.
While there may be statistical evidence, such as GPA and test scores, to support Fordham’s place on the list, there are a myriad of other attributes students possess that cannot be quantified. Leadership qualities and people skills are things that cannot really be measured by a US News report.
The list did not take into account those factors or any others that go beyond pure academic performance. The list also fails to consider how Fordham University conducts its admissions process. Due to the fact that Fordham is a Jesuit institution and committed to community service, it looks specifically for well-rounded students who have been involved in their high school or surrounding area.
“The US News list could not possibly account for all the attributes that admissions seek in students and the parameters that they go through when examining a prospective Fordham student,” Gene Colucci, GSB ’13, said. “The list gives a very limited picture of what Fordham looks at when admitting students.”
Whether the list is a good or bad thing for Fordham remains to be seen, but I think that admissions will see a spike in applications later this year. At the very least, Fordham’s mention in US News will increase college bound students’ awareness of the university. But with academic standards and tuition costs rising, fewer and fewer schools will be accepting B students. Admissions at Fordham, however, will now have a better applicant pool to select the class of 2017.
Declan Murphy, FCRH ’13, is a political science major from Parkland, Fla.