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Woodbury Ranked No. 1 by U.S. News in Share of International Students and No. 48 Overall in West

With College Application Deadlines Nearing, Millions of Students and Parents Look to U.S. News & World Report Rankings for Guidance; What Factors Should They Consider?

For Woodbury University, there was reason for celebration last fall when U.S. News & World Report, in its annual list of top colleges and universities, ranked the 130-year-old liberal arts institution No. 1 in the West Region for its percentage of international students (17 percent) and No. 48 overall in the West – up from No. 62 in the previous year’s report.

For faculty and leadership at the 1,600-student campus nestled on the border of Los Angeles and Burbank, there is optimism that the improved rankings will attract more students to its highly regarded schools of architecture, business, and media, culture and design.

First published in 1983, the U.S. News rankings have become an important resource for students and parents trying to narrow their decision from thousands of colleges large and small to that one “ideal” institution. This year’s report attributed the improvement in Woodbury’s overall ranking to its favorable graduation rate – a new measure first included in the 2014 regional report.

That graduation rates now are considered a bellwether measure is evidence, Woodbury’s president says, of the attention both parents and students are paying to achieving a return, or ROI, on their higher-education investment.

“As an educator for many years and a parent who has been through the college application and selection process with my own daughters, I can confirm that parents and students today are paying closer attention to the return on investment of a college or university education,” says Woodbury President Luis Maria R. Calingo, Ph.D. “While it is easy to be smitten by the Hilton-like dorms and spacious new sports stadiums, when all is said and done, more and more students and parents today are selecting a college or university based on likelihood of getting a job upon graduation. Ultimately, this is how universities should be evaluated and held accountable.”

Adds Calingo: “These rankings demonstrate that Woodbury is delivering on our core mission of empowering students to do extraordinary things in and out of the classroom, and that we are preparing them for lives of discovery, innovation, leadership and citizenship. We are pleased that Woodbury is recognized for educational programs that are distinctive and driven by our unique ability to integrate transdisciplinarity, design thinking, entrepreneurship and civic engagement in everything we do.”

In recognizing Woodbury for its large population of international students, U.S. News writes: “International students can add diversity to a college or university, enriching the experience of other students on campus.” It continues: “Schools with a strong global presence often have a wealth of cultural groups and events, allowing international students an opportunity to share their food, music and traditions with their U.S. peers.” International students attending one of the ranked schools “… may also benefit from a large foreign community when trying to acclimate to American life.”

Institutions are categorized by their mission as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010. Woodbury University is classified as a Regional University. Institutions in this category offer a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master’s degree programs but few, if any, doctoral programs. Regional Universities are further divided and ranked in four geographical groups: North, South, Midwest and West. U.S. News then gathers data from each college on up to 16 indicators of academic excellence. Each factor is assigned a weight that reflects its judgment about how much a measure matters. Finally, the colleges and universities in each category are ranked against their peers, based on their composite weighted score.