Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: The Effects of Rankings on Undergraduate Admission Statistics

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sam Grubbs, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Recently, there has a lot of controversy about how admissions officers have tried to manipulate their university statistics in order to present their universities in a better light in national university rankings. The purpose of this research is to analyze how influential university rankings are on where high school seniors choose to apply. This research examines top university rankings in the US News and World Report and two different admission statistics: admission rate and matriculation yield. The results indicate that though a curvilinear relationship between ranking and admission statistics exist, a time fixed-effect model eliminates the significance of ranking on admission outcomes. Overall, time (universities improve each year) and enrollment numbers were significant predictors of admission statistics. This research suggests that work by administrators to move up in university rankings may not be useful because admission statistics are more of a function of campus admission efforts.