Members of the LDS Church probably thought they would never see the day when Mormons would be popular.
According to U.S. News, BYU is the second most popular national university in America, second only to the renowned Harvard University, but some question the validity of the rankings.Todd Hollingshead, spokesman for BYU, said the ranking is based on university yield ratios that compare admitted students to those who actually attend.
“It shows that the students that apply to BYU truly want to be at BYU,” Hollingshead said.
BYU’s yield ratio was 74.7 percent, as 5,245 students attended out of 7,020 who were accepted. The percentage is only .8 behind Harvard. Since 2008, when the ranking began, BYU has competed for the top spot and in the past two years the university was listed as the most popular in the U.S.
“The ranking fluctuates every year,” Hollingshead said. “We expect a fluctuation.”
Zoya Krupczynski, a middle eastern studies major from Florida, attributed BYU’s high ranking to the affordability of a reputable education.
“It’s a good environment to be in because everyone shares the same values,” Krupczynski said.
Krupczynski said she knows an employer who is not a member of the Church who places BYU applicants at the top of their pile.
“It is because of the reputation for honesty and hard workers,” Krupczynski said.
Tanner Thompson, a physics major from Indiana, said he applied to two other schools, but decided on BYU because of the atmosphere and family heritage.
While Thompson listed good reasons for attending BYU, he questioned the name of the U.S. News ranking system.
“It is an interesting word to use,” Thompson said. “Just because a lot of people apply and then go doesn’t mean it is popular.”
He said the targeted population of potential BYU students do not have many other options. Thompson said he agreed Harvard is popular because it has a lot higher amount of targeted students who would be willing to attend.
Hollingshead said the name the U.S. News gives to the ranking is “a fun way to get attention.”
“Being No. 1 is something that students and the community like to see,” Hollingshead said.
Other popular universities on the ranking include Stanford and Yale. To view the full ranking visit usnews.com.
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