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National rankings highlight William & Mary

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    College rankings  The start of the fall semester means it's time for college rankings and William & Mary has once again been highlighted by several national publications.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The start of the fall semester means it’s time for college rankings and William & Mary has once again been highlighted by several national publications.

In the latest undergraduate rankings in U.S. News & World Report, released Tuesday, the College was listed in a tie for 33rd overall among all universities and sixth-best among all public schools. William & Mary was eighth in the magazine’s listing of the “Best Colleges for Undergraduate Teaching.”

The U.S. News listing follows a number of other national publications that included William & Mary among their top universities in categories ranging from general academics to service, campus beauty and return on investment.

Last month, Forbes magazine ranked William & Mary the second highest state supported school in the nation. Forbes ranked the College 48th overall (public and private) and fifth among all publics, including military institutions.

As part of its annual guidebook, U.S. News annually compiles data that ranks colleges and universities in several categories based on criteria such as graduation rates, class sizes, academic reputation, freshmen retention rates, alumni contributions and faculty resources.

In the U.S. News overall rankings, private universities fared the best with no public school breaking the top-20. The University of California-Berkeley, ranked 21st overall, claimed the top spot among public universities. The College, which was tied for 31st overall a year ago and 33rd two years ago, actually saw its score improve two points to 69. It is tied this year with New York University.

William & Mary ranked among the nation’s leading universities despite coming in 97th for financial resources – the lowest financial ranking of any of the top 50 national universities. Last year, the College ranked 85th in terms of financial resources. The faculty resources rank also dropped from 47th a year ago to 55th in this year’s report.

U.S. News also looked at which universities who are committed to teaching undergraduates. In that category, William & Mary was once again ranked among the nation’s best, finishing in a tie for eighth with California-Berkeley and the University of Notre Dame. In the magazine’s ranking by high school counselors, William & Mary was listed tied for 26th, up from a tie for 30th last year. The Mason School of Business also moved up and was ranked tied for 41st (up from 42nd) in the category of best undergraduate business programs.

The U.S. News ranking is the latest in a number of reports published by national publications. In the Forbes ranking, William & Mary joined the University of Virginia (46th overall) as the only two state-supported universities in the top 50. Institutions were ranked based on the quality of teaching, students’ career prospects, graduation rates and debt levels. Williams College in Massachussets was ranked in the top spot overall. The College also made the magazine's list as the 20th-ranked research university. Forbes also ranked the best business schools based on return on investment. William & Mary’s full time MBA program was ranked 41st in the country, up from 49th a year ago.

William & Mary was also recognized by other national rankings over the summer. Princeton Review released their annual college guidebook in July and listed the College 12th in the category of “Professors Get High Marks.” In August, a new report from “The Best Colleges” website ( emerged that listed William & Mary fifth overall and eighth for campus beauty. In addition to William & Mary, the top five list included Princeton University, Harvard University, Swarthmore College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later in the month, Newsweek’s “Daily Beast” released a number of college rankings, including four top 25 listings that included William & Mary. Newsweek ranked the College 24th for campus activism, 19th for developing future politicians, 25th among the most beautiful campuses and 19th on return on investment. Also in August, Washington Monthly magazine released its annual list and ranked William & Mary 24th overall and eighth in terms of service.

William & Mary is also listed among the country’s Military Friendly Schools, according to a release by G.I. Jobs on Monday. The magazine, which is targeted to personnel who are transitioning into civilian life, included the College in its 2012 Military Friendly Schools list. The ranking includes the “top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students.”

And last spring, William & Mary once again received high marks in the annual U.S. News ranking of graduate and professional programs. The Law ranked 27th, up one spot from 2011, and tied with Boston College and Iowa.  The School of Education ranked 41st – tied with University of Illinois, Chicago. 

The latest undergraduate rankings by U.S. News are available at The magazine issue hits newsstands September 20.