Tag: America’s Best Colleges

Forbes.com Report Ranks Lawrence University 50th in 2010 “America’s Best Colleges” Report

Using the quality of the education a college provides, the experiences of its students and how much those students achieve as its measuring stick, Forbes.com has named Lawrence University the best undergraduate institution in Wisconsin and 50th nationally among more than 600 undergraduate institutions in its third annual “America’s Best Colleges” report.

Lawrence was the only state institutions to crack the business publication’s top 100. Beloit College was ranked 125th, St. Norbert College 152nd, Carroll University 184th, and Ripon College 195th.

In addition to finishing top-ranked among 11 Wisconsin institutions included in Forbes.com’s list, Lawrence also was ranked higher than such traditional educational heavyweights as Georgetown University (52), the University of California-Berkeley (65) and Ivy League member Cornell University (70).

Liberal arts colleges like Lawrence accounted for six of the top 15 ranked institutions nationally while many of the large state universities landed well down Forbes’ list, including Penn. State University (192), UW-Madison (212), and the University of Minnesota (418).

Launched in 2008 as an alternative to the annual rankings done by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes’ rankings focus largely on student-related concerns: Do the students enjoy their classes and overall academic experience? Will courses be interesting and rewarding? How likely is the student to graduate in four years? Will the student get a good job after graduation? How much debt will the student incur in pursuit of a degree?

“We’re happy that Forbes takes a student-centered approach to its assessments,” said Ken Anselment, Lawrence’s director of admissions. “And we continue to be gratified that Forbes recognizes the high-quality experience we provide our students, as well as the lifetime of rewards they reap from that experience as alumni.”

Compiled with the assistance of researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit think tank Center for College Affordability and Productivity, the magazine’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges” report ranks 610 undergraduate institutions from among the 6,600 accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States.

More than 10 factors are used in objectively determining the rankings, with no single factor accounting as much as 20 percent. The only subjective judgments are those of Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity as to which factors to include and the weights to be used in evaluating each factor.

Data in the rankings were drawn from numerous sources, including the opinions of student evaluations of courses and instructors recorded on the Web site RateMyProfessors.com and post-graduate success determined by enrollment-adjusted entries in “Who’s Who in America” and average salaries of graduates reported by Payscale.com.

Other ranking factors included an estimated average student debt after four years, four-year college graduation rates, and the number of students and faculty, adjusted for enrollment, who have won nationally competitive awards such as Rhodes Scholarships and Nobel Prizes.

Williams College earned Forbes.com’s no. 1 ranking, supplanting last year’s top-ranked institution, the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, which was ranked fourth this year. Princeton University (2), Amherst College (3) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (5) completed the top five.

Lawrence University Tops in Wisconsin in U.S. News’ Annual College Guide

APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University is Wisconsin’s top-ranked liberal arts institution and 59th overall among 249 national colleges and universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges” report released today (8/20). It was the 11th straight year Lawrence has been ranked among the top 25 percent of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges.

Among the factors used in determining the rankings, Lawrence had strong showings in the areas of full-time faculty (94 percent), incoming students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class (41 percent), graduation rate (76 percent), acceptance rate (59 percent), alumni giving rate (43 percent) and percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (73 percent).

“We’re certainly pleased that U.S. News, as well as all the other rankings, continue to recognize Lawrence as one of the premier institutions in the nation,” said Steve Syverson, vice president of enrollment at Lawrence, “but continue to remind students that the only ranking that should really matter to them is their personal ranking of colleges. Loren Pope, past editor of the New York Times Education Section, through his books “Beyond the Ivy League” and “Colleges That Change Lives,” spent his lifetime championing the notion that great, life-changing education occurs at all sorts of colleges across the nation, many of which are not household names.”

In its report, U.S. News also includes lists and rankings of a wide variety of other niche categories, without regard for size or type of institution. In a survey of guidance counselors from America’s best high schools who were asked which liberal arts colleges they think offer the best education to their students, Lawrence was ranked 42nd nationally. And in a reaffirmation of its status as a residential campus, Lawrence tied for 17th nationally in the percentage of students (98) who reside in university-provided housing.

“It’s particularly gratifying to see the confidence high school guidance counselors have placed in Lawrence,” said Syverson. “It’s their job to have expertise about colleges around the country and the quality of their programs.”

Williams College earned the magazine’s top spot in the national liberal arts college category for the sixth consecutive year while Harvard University repeated as the top-ranked institution in U.S. News’ national universities category, sharing this year’s top spot with Princeton University.

In compiling its annual “America’ s Best Colleges” guide, U.S. News & World Report evaluates nearly 1,500 of the nation’s public and private four-year schools, using data from 15 separate indicators of academic excellence such as peer assessment, selectivity, graduation rates, student retention, faculty resources and alumni satisfaction. Each factor is assigned a “weight” that reflects the magazine editor’s judgment as to how much that measure matters. Each school’s composite weighted score is then compared to peer institutions to determine final rankings.

Institutions are divided into several distinct categories. In addition to the best liberal arts college category that measures national institutions like Lawrence, other rankings are based on universities that grant master and doctorate degrees and colleges that are considered “regional” institutions.