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W&M climbs higher in U.S. News rankings of best colleges

  • A reason to celebrate
    A reason to celebrate  William & Mary has once again been counted among the country's top colleges and universities by a national magazine.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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William & Mary has once again been counted among the country's top colleges and universities by a national magazine.

In rankings released by U.S. News & World Report today, William & Mary moved up two spots to 31st among all national universities and remained the sixth-best public university. Additionally, the College ranked fifth on the magazine's list of universities with a strong "commitment to teaching," up one spot from last year. The U.S. News rankings follow reports earlier this month by Princeton Review and, which ranked William & Mary its second-highest state supported university.

"Whether it's U.S. News, Forbes or Princeton Review, it is always refreshing when outside publications seem to have some sense of the caliber of William & Mary," said President Taylor Reveley. "It is especially satisfying to see our faculty's strong commitment to undergraduate teaching affirmed by U.S. News."

Introduced last year by U.S. News, the teaching category is based on surveys of university presidents, provosts and admissions deans. School officials consider which universities do the best job "creating a culture that balances the requirements of faculty members' academic research with a determination to make the most of students' time in the classroom," according to a description by the magazine.

At fifth, William & Mary ranks just ahead of Brown University and the University of California-Berkeley (T-6), the University of Michigan and University of Virginia (T-8), and Stanford University and Yale University (T-10).

The new report also revealed that William & Mary is a favorite among high school guidance counselors. For the first time, public school counselor ratings were counted as part of the magazine's academic reputation measure for national universities and liberal arts colleges, along with ratings by college admissions deans, provosts, and presidents. Those ratings were also compiled into their own list, and William & Mary ranked tied for 30th among the counselors' picks.

William & Mary's undergraduate business program also did well in U.S. News, ranking 42nd overall this year. The program was ranked 48th last year. U.S. News also ranked the business program 24th among public universities.

"This is a strong endorsement of the talent and efforts of our faculty, the vision of our program leadership, and the caliber of our students and graduates," noted Mason School of Business Dean Lawrence B. Pulley. "It is also gratifying that the Mason School faculty is recognized among the top five for its 'Commitment to Teaching.'"

U.S. News compiles its national universities and national liberal arts colleges rankings based on several key factors, including undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and graduation rate performance. Other top national universities this year include Harvard University (first), Princeton University (second), Yale (third), Brown (15th), Virginia (25th), and Boston College (tied at 31st with William & Mary). Virginia was second among public universities.

The new rankings come just a week after Forbes lauded the College in its annual guide to colleges. The magazine listed William & Mary as the second highest state-supported school and 46th overall, up two spots from 48th last year. The Forbes rankings include a different methodology and are based on five criteria: graduation rate; national and global awards by students and faculty; students' satisfaction with their professors; average debt upon graduation; and postgraduate success. In the Forbes ranking, William & Mary is listed as one of five public universities in the top 50. The first three are military institutions --the U.S. Military Academy (No. 4 overall), U.S. Air Force Academy (No. 11 overall) and the U.S. Naval Academy (No. 29 overall). The only two state-supported universities in the top 50 come from the Commonwealth - U.Va. joined William & Mary on the list and was ranked 44th overall.

Additionally this year, the Princeton Review praised William & Mary's faculty, libraries and undergraduate happiness level in its annual college guidebook. The Review listed William & Mary at 12th in the "Happiest Students" category, up two spots from 14th last year. Additionally, the College ranked eighth in both the "Professors Get High Marks" and "Best College Library" categories. The College's "green rating" also improved, climbing from a 90 last year to a 93 this year.

Last spring, the College was included in U.S. News' latest ranking of graduate and professional schools. In those rankings, the School of Education jumped up nine spots from the previous year to 39th, tied with the University of Georgia. The William & Mary Law School also ranked among the nation's best graduate programs, retaining its rank at 28th in the survey.