Oglethorpe continues to be ranked highly with high school counselors, who were asked to evaluate the reputations of National Liberal Arts Colleges and identify which they think offer the best undergraduate education to their students. U.S. News asked the high school counselors to consider each college’s academic record, curriculum, faculty, programs and graduates.
U.S. News also measured the campus ethnic diversity of each school “to identify colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own.” Oglethorpe ranked as the 14th most diverse student body among liberal arts colleges nationwide.This year, U.S. News added an assessment of social mobility, measuring the economic diversity of the student body by looking at Pell Grant recipient graduation rates. At Oglethorpe, 40% of students are Pell eligible. In the Washington Monthly College Guide & Rankings released last week, Oglethorpe ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges in the “Pell Graduation Gap Link” category, which compares graduation rates of Pell and non-Pell students to develop a graduation gap measure. Colleges with higher Pell than non-Pell graduation rates received a positive score, which also counted toward the college’s overall score.
Oglethorpe also outperformed similar colleges based on its student excellence rank and peer assessment score. Student excellence is scored by evaluating admitted students’ probability of succeeding at challenging college-level coursework, enabling instructors to design classes that have great rigor. The peer ranking is calculated from outside surveys by top academics—presidents, provosts and deans of admissions—at other colleges and universities to account for intangibles at peer institutions, such as faculty dedication to teaching.
Universities nationwide are rated annually by U.S. News in an effort to help prospective students and their families evaluate higher education choices. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence and key weighted measures of quality: graduation and retention rates; assessment of excellence; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; graduation rate performance; and alumni giving.
The country’s liberal arts colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences, which include such disciplines as English, the biological and physical sciences, history, foreign languages, and the visual and performing arts but exclude professional disciplines such as business, education and nursing.