Chestertown, MD, August 25, 2003 — As Washington College begins a new academic year with the most competitive class of incoming freshmen in the College's history, U. S. News & World Report has just released its 2004 America's Best Colleges rankings placing Washington College among the Top 110 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation. Out of 217 colleges nationwide, Washington College climbed three points to 97th place in the overall ranking, and scored highly in the ranking of colleges with the most international students (35th place nationally) and in student graduation rate performance (34th place nationally).
“We have reason to be proud of our climb in the rankings. Many positive factors have combined to put us in this position,” said Dr. John S. Toll, President of the College. “We're attracting highly competitive students with high GPA and SAT scores. Our capital campaign has been extremely successful and has witnessed a steadily increasing alumni giving rate. Lastly, we maintain our commitment to a small student-teacher ratio, to cooperative student-teacher research, and to teaching excellence of outstanding faculty that inspires our students and transforms the directions of their lives.”
Published since 1983, the U.S. News ranking system relies on quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality. Data for 15 indicators of academic excellence is gathered on an annual basis; each factor is assigned a weight that reflects U. S. News' judgment about how much a measure matters. Indicators include a peer assessment survey of like institutions, student retention numbers, faculty resources and class size, selectivity in admissions, financial resources, graduation rate performance and the percentage of alumni who donate to their college.
Washington College has also been recognized by The Princeton Review as one of The Best Mid-Atlantic Colleges; by Jay Matthews, Washington Post education columnist, as one of the “Hidden Gems” in higher education; and as one of the nations' Top 120 colleges in the forthcoming Colleges of Distinction, to be released this fall.