The University of La Verne ranked No. 2 in U.S. News and World Report’s first ever nationwide list of over-performing colleges, which looks at how universities performed in comparison to the schools’ reputations. ULV exceeded expectations in 82 measures, including enrollment, SAT scores, retention rates and grade point averages.
“It’s a great honor,” Provost Greg Dewey said. “It was our growth in enrollment and improvement of students.”
ULV performed better than what was predicted by other colleges and surpassed its peer assessment by 33 percent.
Fifteen schools nationwide made the over-performing list and ULV was one of three California universities to make it.
The increased quality of students that helped the university become an over-performing school was based on from high school and transfer students becoming more of aware of ULV, said Chris Krzak, dean of admissions.
“It’s a natural progression for the institution,” Krzak said.
Professors presenting at national conferences, as well as other group efforts between faculty and current students, increased ULV’s reputation and brought a variety of students with different strengths to apply, Ana Liza Zell, associate dean of undergraduate admissions, said.
The freshman class that began in 2012 had the highest SAT scores in the University’s history, Dewey said.
The average GPA has risen to 3.5, Zell said.
This new ranking will not affect the way admissions admits future students, both Krzak and Zell said.
“It’s not all about the GPA, it’s the overall contribution they (applicants) can give to the school,” Zell said.
The new ranking came because of a broader range of quality applicants, not because ULV decided to be more selective and change their admission process, Zell said.
“It’s not about the numbers, it’s about who the students really are,” director of community relations and outreach Sharon Cruz-McKinney said. “We try to get the best mix.”
Students feel the higher quality of students will better represent ULV’s reputation as well as benefit their careers after graduation.
“When students graduate from here, employers will recognize the school’s name and it will look better on a resume,” sophomore business major Nancy Frias said.
Sophomore business major Daisy Bentacourt said having students with higher test scores and grades will raise ULV’s academic standards.
“When a school has set standards, that motivates you to go here and makes you feel good you’re attending here,” Betancourt said.
ULV’s over-performing title is different from their past accomplishment of being named one of America’s best colleges.
The best college ranking is solely based on a survey of opinion from faculty members and administrators, Dewey said.
“In a way, [the over-performing title] is more objective than the survey,” Dewey said.
Only schools named National Universities on U.S. News’ Best Colleges in 2013 were eligible to be ranked as an over-performing school.
Maryville University of St. Louis, Mo., was the only school to beat ULV’s ranking, by five points.
Mariela Patron can be reached at email@example.com.