Northwestern College has once again appeared on a list of top colleges published in U.S. News and World Report’s annual guidebook of America’s Best Colleges. Moving up three positions since last year, NW now ranks 25th out of 109 comprehensive colleges in the Midwestern category.
The overall ranking is based on a numerical score determined by how well NW performs within various weighted sub-categories. These categories include peer assessment, freshman retention rate, graduation rate, student faculty ratio and alumni giving rate. The rankings are compiled using information obtained from surveys and from the Department of Education.
NW scored exceptionally high in the area of alumni giving. With a rate of 32% of alumni currently donating money to the school, the college ranked 16th in this category.
However, numbers alone cannot tell the entire story.
“There’s a lot not written here,” says Karen Cianci, Dean of Academic Affairs. “The core mission of a school and the quality of its staff and students cannot be expressed with an equation.”
However, this is not to say that the ranking has no value. Cianci states that while the rankings are all “indirect measures” it is still “nice to know we are in the top tier.”
“I thought it was cool,” states sophomore Melissa Butler who was aware of the ranking when she chose to attend Northwestern last year. “I was proud that I attended a college that was ranked by a magazine such as U.S. News.”
The ranking is a tangible reward representing the hard work and dedication of the faculty, staff and students.