Written by Gregg Brekke
Thirteen UCC and historically UCC related colleges and universities have received U.S. News and World Report's top 100 rankings for 2009.
U.S. News and World Report collects data from more than 1,400 U.S. colleges and universities and considered one of the most reliable sources of rankings. Each school's rank within its group of peer institutions is based on the same set of measures.
Seventy-five percent of a school's ranking is based on objective measures of academic quality such as graduation rates. The remaining 25 percent is based on a peer assessment survey. Presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions at each school are asked to rate the quality of the academic programs for schools in the same ranking category, including their own.
National Liberal Arts top 100 rankings included Carleton College (Minn.), 8; Grinnell College (Iowa), 14; and Beloit College (Wis.), 60.
Regional top 100 rankings are divided between schools offering masters and baccalaureate degrees:
- West Masters – Westminster College of Salt Lake City (Utah), 19.
- West Baccalaureate – Rocky Mountain College (Mont.), 8.
- Midwest Masters – Drury University (Mo.), 10; Elmhurst College (Ill.), 13; and Heidelberg College (Ohio), 37.
- Midwest Baccalaureate – Defiance College (Ohio), 43.
- South Masters – Elon University (N.C.), 2; and Piedmont College (Ga.), 59.
- South Baccalaureate – Catawba College (N.C.), 16.
- North Masters – Hood College (Md.), 19.
The editors of U.S. News and World Report stress that rankings are only one of many criteria students should consider in choosing a college. A school's top category ranking does not mean it is the top choice for everyone. They add that prospective student's academic and professional ambitions, personal preferences, financial resources, and scholastic record, as well as a school's size, atmosphere, and location, should play major roles in determining a college choice.
Ranking criteria changed in 2009 in response to two criticisms. First, was the assessment that the subjective peer review did not fairly represent schools working toward improvement. In response, peer reviewers were asked "to nominate up to 10 colleges that are making improvements in academics, faculty, students, campus life, diversity and facilities."
The second criteria modification in this year’s review is the inclusion of rankings by high school counselors. Of the 1,600 public schools in the nation 800 received review criteria for liberal arts colleges, the other 800 received review criteria for national universities.
The full report is available online at <colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college>.