College goes from 33 to 32 in U.S. News rankings

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August 22, 2008

12:14 AM

The College of William and Mary gained some ground in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, released today. The College improved in the overall rankings from 33rd last year to 32nd this year. In public rankings, the College remained 6th.

Interim College President Taylor Reveley was positive about the ranking, but said he didn’t know why it increased slightly.

“I doubt very seriously the turmoil on campus or the end of the turmoil on campus had anything to do with it,” he told The Flat Hat yesterday. “The U.S. News rankings march to the beat of their own drummer and are … somewhat unpredictable.”

Provost Geoff Feiss, although pleased, agreed.

“I don’t attach a great deal of significance to these kinds of [small] up/down [movements],” he said. “These kinds of shifts are driven by a lot of factors.”

Furthermore, the College’s financial resources ranking remained at 111th, down from 106th two years ago. The College’s financial resources ranking is the lowest of the top 50 universities.

The College’s highest-ever ranking came in 1988 when it was ranked 22nd. In 1996, the College received its lowest ranking, 34th.

Princeton University, who has been in the top spot since 2000, lost the number one spot this year to Harvard University. Harvard has not had the top ranking since 1998.

The rankings are part of U.S. News’ annual “America’s Best Colleges” guide, available online today.

The College also fared well in other organizations’ rankings.

In Forbes magazine, which ranked universities for the first time, the College ranked 49th overall and 6th best public university.

Unlike U.S. News, whose rankings are based on statistics such as retention, graduation, selectivity and student/faculty ration, Forbes bases its rankings on the number of alumni in Who’s Who in America, ratings from ratemyprofessors.com, number of national awards, graduation rates and accumulated debt.

Feiss said that, because the Forbes rankings are new, he is unsure how to feel about the overall ranking.

“What one is less familiar to me because it is newer,” he said. Feiss noted that after several years the academic community will have a better idea of how to approach Forbes’ rankings.

Also, the College recently placed 8th on the Princeton Review’s annual list of best college libraries. It marks the College’s first appearance on that list.

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