The U.S. News has released its top five liberal arts colleges in the United States.
One notable change in this year’s rankings is the decreased emphasis on standardized test scores. Given the fluctuation in requirements for standardized tests, the report put less stock in those scores.
Taking into consideration factors like class size, acceptance rates, and student outcomes, the list includes four schools from the Northeast and one from California. Schools on the list have small class sizes in common among them. Other factors include faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving.
Institutions on this list also have a leg up regarding social mobility. That is, the schools all score well on the improvement of their graduates’ circumstances after graduation. That is measured by comparing the status of pell grant recipients after they graduate. The Pell Grant program is reserved for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.
Here are the top five liberal arts colleges in the United States:
Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College boasts an acceptance rate of only fifteen percent. Williams College graduates join an alumni body full of influential people, including President James Garfield.
Also located in Massachusetts, Amherst College welcomed an inimitable freshman class. Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes.
In the Philadelphia suburbs, Swarthmore College is ranked as the third-best liberal arts college in the United States. Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 and is one of the earliest co-educational institutions in the country.
Pomona College is the lone entry to the top five list from outside the Northeast. With an acceptance rate of only nine percent, Pomona is one of the most selective institutions in the country. Pomona is also notable for its commitment to diversity in its student body. It has been widely recognized for its intentionality in reaching out to lower-income and first-generation college students in its admissions efforts.
Wellesley College is a women’s college located in Massachusetts. Wellesley grads join an impressive roster of alumnae, including former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the first female Secretary of State Madeline Albright.