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Ohio State drops two spots in college rankings

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The football field isn’t the only place where the Buckeyes are dropping in the rankings.

Ohio State dropped two spots over the course of the year — to No. 54 from No. 52 — in the “U.S. News & World Report” annual rankings of national best colleges. Out of the 50 public institutions in the 2015 edition of the list, OSU also fell two spots to No. 18.

This year, 268 universities were ranked, compared to last year, when 201 universities were ranked.

OSU is tied at No. 54 with George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and Tulane University in New Orleans.

Colleges are ranked based upon factors including reviews by administrators at peer institutions, student retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and graduation rate performance, according to the “U.S. News and World Report” website.

The freshman class keeps getting bigger — student applications have grown to 43,000 from 35,000 in one year — and brighter, according to an OSU press release. Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning at OSU, said the two-spot dip in the rankings is normal.

His reasoning, which is similar to an explanation he gave in 2012 when OSU fell one spot in the rankings, is that fluctuation is to be expected.

“I think you have to keep the right things in perspective and recognize that in any given year, universities can go down one or two points, but that’s not unusual,” Evanovich said.

The rankings in the 2015 list — released Tuesday — prove somewhat consistent with that of last year’s. Princeton University and Harvard University took the top two spots for the 12th year in a row, while the same five Big Ten schools as last year ranked higher than OSU, including Northwestern University at No. 13, University of Michigan at No. 29, University of Illinois at No. 42, University of Wisconsin at No. 47 and Pennsylvania State University at No. 48.

However, all five of those Big Ten schools experienced a drop in the rankings from the 2014 edition of the list, with Penn State and Wisconsin seeing the biggest dip at 11 spots and six spots, respectively, and Northwestern, Michigan and Illinois each seeing a one-spot fall.

Some students are fairly optimistic about OSU’s credentials despite the drop.

Taryn Phillips, a third-year in communication and political science, said she came to OSU because it has a “friendly feel.”

“No school wants to drop, but I think being in the top 100 is still an accomplishment,” Phillips said.

Tyler Gabalski, a fourth-year in accounting, said he doesn’t feel any differently about OSU in light of its drop in rankings.

“(OSU) is close to home, and I love Buckeye football,” Gabalski said.

He also called the Fisher College of Business — which was rated No. 20 in the nation on the “U.S. News & World Report” rankings of undergraduate business programs among both private and public schools  — a “great program.”

OSU’s College of Engineering was also evaluated and ranked No. 26 overall among Ph.D-granting private and public universities.

Evanovich explained that the demand for the OSU brand of education has never been stronger.

“Students make decisions with their feet, and they decide it upon where they think they are going to get a great education, where they have an outstanding value,” he said.

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