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University of Denver Ranks Top in Colorado Among Colleges and Universities

Driscoll Bridge file photo

The University of Denver ranks No. 89—best in the state of Colorado—in the inaugural list of U.S. colleges and universities from the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education (WSJ/THE).

The ranking is based on 15 factors across four categories: Forty percent of each school’s overall score comes from student outcomes, including how they fare after leaving campus, 30 percent from the school’s resources, 20 percent from how well it engages its students and 10 percent from the learning environment, or diversity. For the engagement score, 100,000 college students were polled.

According to the story in today’s Wall Street Journal, this ranking differs from others because it emphasizes students’ postgraduate success as well as their own opinions about the quality of their education. Other rankings tend to emphasize inputs, such as the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen or how many applicants were turned away.

“At DU we see a direct relationship between how engaged students are on campus—academically, socially and in the community — with how prepared they are to navigate life after college,” said DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “So we invest in programs and partnerships with that outcome in mind.”

At DU, 97 percent of graduates have a job or are in graduate school six months after graduation — a fact that figured heavily into the ranking. Nearly 70 percent of students participate in at least one internship, and half of all students participate in more than one.

Engagement at DU centers around small class sizes (average is 21 students), close faculty-student relationships, and the University’s living and learning communities, which date back to 1994 and are among the most distinctive of their kind in the country. Students live together in a themed environment of their choosing — such as creativity and entrepreneurship, sustainability, social justice or wellness — and take related courses, hear from speakers and engage in cultural activities. The key to success, many students say, is that they also apply their course concepts to address community needs in Denver, where there are many partners eager to engage with students. Learn more about DU’s LLCs here.