Ranking: Law v. Undergrad
Inspired by this 2007 Taxprof post, I decided to compare the 2013 US News undergrad ranking to the 2013 overall law school rank. This project was a bit more complicated than it was six years ago, due both to scandal & to the proliferation of regionally rankings. But, ignoring schools that aren’t present on both lists, the results are illuminating. For figures, follow me after the jump.
First, I’ll list the schools with a +20 or more difference between law and undergrad rankings — i.e., those schools with a significantly better ranked law school than their home institution.
Next, those schools with a -10 or more difference — i.e., those law schools lagging the most behind their home institutions.
You’ll note that there are more law schools exceeding their undergraduate reputation than those lagging it, and that the school with the biggest negative gap (Drexel) is still only 40 or so places behind its undergraduate rank, while the school with the biggest positive gap (Houston @ #48) is an astonishing 136 places in front of its undergrad rank (#184). Why this should be so seems complicated to me – but I’d ultimately attribute the skew to an unbalanced mix of missing data on both lists. Still, this should be interesting evidence when schools think about the determinants of their academic reputation score. If I were an administrator at one of schools with the bigger gaps, I’d wonder how much farther the rubber band could stretch.
Also worth noting: those schools whose rankings match exactly: Columbia, Chicago, Northwestern, B.C., William and Mary, and UC-Davis.
[Updated: by popular demand, I've turned the numbers into percentages, by dividing the rank into the total ranked schools in each category. The results for the top 20 schools in both categories aren't terribly different.]
First, the schools with the biggest negative gap.