BYU ranks 20th best school in nation with new emphasis on student outcomes

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The Wall Street Journal ranked BYU the 20th best school in the nation Sept. 7, using a new survey technique that prioritizes student outcomes post-graduation.

In College Pulses’ new survey, student outcomes, or the value added to students by a university, make up 70% of the total score.

In comparison, the other two major categories, learning environment and diversity, accounted for 20% and 10%, respectively.

New survey techniques by the Wall Street Journal emphasize student outcomes and give less consideration to student inputs like diversity and learning environment. This shift in surveying method allowed BYU to climb the rankings for the 2023-2024 school year. (Belle Lewis)

In the student outcome subcategories of social mobility and salary impact, BYU ranked 26th and 13th. Schools are ranked on a scale of 100 by interviewing more than 50 individuals from each campus.

Before the recent adjustment, the College Rankings focused more on student inputs such as diversity. Between 2016 and 2022, BYU ranked between 110-150, averaging a score of 64.1/100. This year, BYU scored an 83.4/100.

For Director of Alumni Relations Michael Johanson, the jump into the top 20 correlates to the unique opportunities afforded to BYU alumni.

“Mentoring is huge,” Johanson said. “Our graduates feel an opportunity and obligation to turn around and serve the next generation of students that are coming in.”

BYU students transfer between classes during a morning passing period. Current BYU students are the focus of alumni mentoring. (Belle Lewis)

Public health major Riley Miskho said student resources such as personalized professor feedback encourage connections and set her up for future success.

“They are there to build you up instead of intimidate,” Miskho said. “They have helped me connect. I can explore different options.”

BYU students can expect post-graduation benefits, including job fairs and community outreach. These create what Johanson dubs “ministering opportunities” and leads to a higher level of university appreciation.

“There are three tiers to connecting,” Johanson said. “Networking is really good. Mentoring is better. Ministering is the best. That is what we are focusing on.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that BYU ranked top in the nation in the “recommendation score.” Out of 400 schools, BYU earned a 93/100 on this subcategory, beating Princeton, which ranked number one overall, by nine points.

Pre-med student Brandon Hassell would “100% yes” recommend students to BYU.

“(Everyone) pushes me to learn and grow,” Hassell said.

The Wall Street Journal has been ranking 400 American universities since 2016. This year is the first time BYU has broken into the top 100.

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