Westmont Magazine Westmont Moves Up in National Rankings
Westmont rises higher in both the U.S. News & World Report and Forbes Magazine national rankings of colleges and univerisities
Westmont leaped nine spots in this year’s ranking of the best liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges, 2012 Edition.” Of the nation’s 252 liberal arts colleges, Westmont tied for 90th, its highest ranking as a national liberal arts college. It’s also the third straight year Westmont has ranked in the top 100.
“I’m pleased to see yet another indication that Westmont is moving up the ranks of top-tier academic institutions,” says Gayle D. Beebe, president of Westmont.
Only seven other liberal arts colleges in California appear in the top 100: Pomona (4th), Claremont McKenna (9th), Harvey Mudd (18th), Scripps (29th), Occidental (37th), Pitzer (42nd) and Thomas Aquinas (71st) Colleges.
Westmont is just one of two liberal arts colleges in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) in the top 100, and the only one in California to be listed in the first tier. Westmont moved into the third tier in 2000, into the second in 2003 and into the top tier in 2005. In 1985, Westmont tied for seventh in Regional Liberal Arts Colleges.
Westmont moved up in the 2012 rankings in the areas of undergraduate academic reputation, smaller class sizes, improved SAT scores and the percentage of freshmen who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
“We’re pleased to be recognized as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation,” says Silvio Vazquez, dean of admission. “An increasing number of students are expressing interest in Westmont’s distinctive program, which goes beyond rigorous academics to educate the whole person.”
Once again, Forbes has recognized Westmont in their 2012 America’s Top Colleges list, which includes 650 institutions. Westmont ranks 76th, up from 81st last year. Nine other California colleges and universities appear in the top 100: Stanford (5th), Claremont McKenna College (12th), California Institute of Technology (13th), Pomona College (23rd), Scripps (41st), Harvey Mudd College (44th), UCLA (55th), Santa Clara University (57th) and UC Berkeley (70th).
In a story on their website, Forbes explains their approach, which focuses on “the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt.” They ignore “ephemeral measures such as school ‘reputation’ and ill-conceived metrics that reward wasteful spending.” They approach the task like a consumer and ask if it’s worth spending money for a particular degree. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a Washington, D.C., think tank, prepared the survey for Forbes.
Forbes identifies five categories used to determine the rankings: post-graduate success (30 percent), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence; student satisfaction (27.5 percent), which includes professor evaluations and freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rates; debt (17.5 percent), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates; four-year graduation rate (17.5 percent) and competitive awards (7.5 percent), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright.
In January 2011, Forbes selected Westmont as the second-best college for minorities to earn a degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For more information, go to blogs.westmont.edu/2011/01/21/forbes-lauds-westmonts-diversity-science/.
For more information about the Forbes 2012 America’s Top Colleges rankings, see www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/.