This story was updated at 4:57 p.m. to include a comment from Jessica Marinaccio, Columbia's dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid.
Columbia tied with the University of Chicago for fourth place in this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings, which were released late Tuesday night.
Last year, Columbia stood alone in fourth in the news magazine’s annual listing of the country’s top universities, while Chicago tied for fifth. For the second year in a row, Harvard University and Princeton University tied for first, with Yale University taking third.
Meanwhile, Barnard jumped in the publication’s liberal arts college rankings from 33rd last year to 28th this year, tied with Colorado College and the University of Richmond. Two years ago, the college was ranked 26th.
U.S. News and World Report determines the rankings by plugging up to 16 criteria—including acceptance rates, endowment sizes, and graduation rates—into a formula. The formula used for universities differs from that used for liberal arts colleges.
Barnard Chief Operating Officer Greg Brown said in a statement early Wednesday morning that the college was proud to have improved from last year in several statistical categories, including admissions selectivity and low student debt. He also noted that Barnard ranked eighth among liberal arts colleges in the “high school counselors’ picks” category.
“While we hesitate to overemphasize this news, given the imperfect nature of these rankings in general, and the fact that they don’t adequately capture the benefits our students enjoy from being in New York City and sharing resources with Columbia, we are still happy to have several key strengths acknowledged,” Brown said.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jessica Marinaccio said in a statement that while the ranking reflects Columbia's strong academics and other factors, "we hope prospective students will truly explore all that Columbia has to offer through all sources and by visiting campus to evaluate whether we might be the best fit for them."
"We look at college rankings with a certain amount of skepticism, questioning their evolving methodologies and their sway over a student's college choice," Marinaccio said. "We are proud, nevertheless, of all the factors that led US News and World Report to once again see us as one of the best universities in the world."