Of the various annual college guides, by far the most popular is the U.S. News & World Report guide to America’s Best Colleges.
Among U.S. News’ top 50 liberal arts colleges are four Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related schools — Davidson College (tied for 8th), Macalester College (29th), Lafayette College (35th) and Centre College (tied for 46th).
Close behind are Rhodes College (tied for 54th); Agnes Scott College (tied for 59th); Austin College and the College of Wooster (tied for 68th); Coe College, Hampden-Sydney College, Lake Forest College and Lyon College (tied for 97th); Hanover College and Presbyterian College (tied for 105th) and Westminster College in Pennsylvania (122nd).
Liberal arts colleges are those that focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education, awarding at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences. Worth noting is that of the top 50 colleges in this category, only nine list any church affiliation.
Nine Presbyterian schools are in the top tier of baccalaureate colleges, those that focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half of their degrees in the liberal arts — Buena Vista University, College of the Ozarks, Davis and Elkins College, Jamestown College, King College, Rocky Mountain College, Schreiner University, Stillman College and University of the Ozarks.
Top tier schools in the university-master’s category — institutions that offer undergraduate and master’s degrees but few doctoral programs — include Arcadia University, Carroll University, Mary Baldwin College, Muskingum University, Queens University of Charlotte, Trinity University, Westminster College in Utah and Whitworth University.
Only one Presbyterian school qualifies as a national university, where a full range of undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs are offered. The University of Tulsa ranks 88th in this category.
Agnes Scott College, Davidson College and Arcadia University were among U.S. News’ top “up-and-coming” schools, while 15 schools were listed as best values based on their academic quality and cost — Agnes Scott College, Austin College, Centre College, College of the Ozarks, Hanover College, Lafayette College, Lyon College, Macalester College, Mary Baldwin College, Muskingum University, Trinity University, University of the Ozarks, Westminster College (Utah), Whitworth University and Wilson College.
Presbyterian schools did well in two other college guides published by Forbes magazine and The Princeton Review. A total of 32 appear on Forbes’ list of 600 best colleges while 20 are included among The Princeton Review’s 371 Best Colleges.
Schools not previously mentioned include Alma College, Bloomfield College, the College of Idaho, Eckerd College, Grove City College, Hastings College, Illinois College, Maryville College, Millikin University, Monmouth College, Westminster College in Missouri and Warren Wilson College.