Photo: Josue Mendivil / Flickr
Photo: Josue Mendivil / Flickr

Ranked the 12th best undergraduate college in America by U.S. World News and Report, being a permanent member of the Ivy League, and boasting an acceptance rate of only 11%, Dartmouth college has all the reason to consider itself an elite school.

Last week, among the jittery of credentials, it fell out of an important chart that may indicate the start of a slow decline: a group of 100 most powerful research universities called the “R1”.

According to the Washington Post, which first reported its fallout, the “R1” label is only used by insiders. Officially the list is referred to as “Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity,” created by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Though it’s little known to the average consumer—who depend more on U.S. World News or Princeton Review for college rankings—the Carnegie Classification influences a school’s perception among government officials and independent academic analysts. The classification is updated every 5 years.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Source: carnegieclassifications.iu.edu
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Source: carnegieclassifications.iu.edu

The Carnegie Classification involves three rankings, schools with “moderate” research activity (R3), schools with “higher” research activity (R2), and schools with “highest” research activity (R1). R1 schools are frequently considered “power research schools” among professionals.

Despite the snub, Dartmouth maintains that it’s investing heavily into research. Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence wrote to Washington Post:

“We don’t know what new algorithm they are using to classify institutions, so we can’t replicate the data. Although I don’t want to speculate on this particular classification, our scale, which is so often a strength, does not always help us in rankings like these. Our research expenses have been consistent, so I doubt it is a result of the funding side. Our faculty excellence and competitiveness are certainly on par with our peers.”

While its research activity may not be fully appreciated, its undergraduate college still remains competitive. Last year, a total of 20,507 students applied to be in Dartmouth’s class of 2019. Only 2,250 were accepted, for an admissions rate of 10.9%