Reflections on Rankings

Einstein once admonished that we measure what we can count easily, but often fail to measure what really counts. This is a central problem of social science, and rankings are susceptible to this methodological weakness.

Rankings are a modestly important and highly imperfect reflection of quality: modestly important because we use rankings as a shorthand proxy for value, and highly imperfect, as many ranking systems and publications apply seemingly arbitrary weights and inadequate survey methodologies.

In sum, we should look at rankings through a thoughtful analytical perspective to avoid two alternative negative tendencies. We should not allow rankings to define who we are or what we value, and we should not pretend that they do not matter at all.

Accordingly, we should have a balanced, transparent, and thoughtful approach to value-driven metrics for the College. Here we list all of our rankings and advise readers to examine the methodologies that we hyperlink below. We will then urge you to study the methodology and draw your own conclusions on the strength of the methodology and the alignment of what’s measured with what’s most important to you.

Current Rankings

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges #7

U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges (2020)
Methodology

Top Liberal Arts Schools #8

WSJ/THE College Rankings (2020) 
Methodology

Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup, NCAA Division III #12

National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) (2019)
Methodology

Top 25% US Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges #4

RePEc/IDEAS (2019)
Methodology

Best Colleges and Universities #16

College Consensus (2019)
Methodology

Best Colleges in California #3

College Consensus (2019)
Methodology

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges #6

College Consensus (2019)
Methodology

Best Small Colleges #4

College Consensus (2019)
Methodology