It’s that time of year again that college administrators both love and hate: the annual ranking of the schools by U.S. News and World Report. Rankings are subjective at best; different organizations have different criteria for choosing who gets the top spot — or the bottom one. Nevertheless, all higher education eyes — and not a few eyes of parents and students — pay close attention.
Catholic colleges and universities did well again. USN&WR sorts its rankings by national schools, national liberal arts schools that mainly concentrate on undergraduate education, and regional schools that draw heavily from their area of the country. The magazine does not rank schools outside of the U.S.
Here are the top ones. You can get the entire listings here.
In the listing for best national colleges and universities, the University of Notre Dame was the top Catholic school at 19th. Georgetown University came in at 21st. Boston College ranked 31st, and Fordham University took 56th. Marquette University ranked 75th, St. Louis University 86th and the University of Dayton 99th. Loyola University of Chicago tied with the University of San Francisco at 117th. The Catholic University of America and Duquense University also tied at 120th. St. Thomas University (St. Paul, Minn.) followed at 124th. DePaul University and Seton Hall University tied at 136th. St. John’s University (Jamaica, N.Y.) took the 143rd spot. Immaculata University ranked 176th, and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota at 183rd was the final Catholic school in the magazine’s tier-one listing. Others were listed among tier-two schools.
Among the best liberal arts schools, the College of Holy Cross ranked first among Catholic colleges at 32nd. St. John’s University (Collegeville, Minn.) followed at 62nd. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, Calif.) ranked 71st. The College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, Minn.) came in at 81. St. Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Ind.) tied with St. Michael’s College for 93rd place. Sienna College (Loudonville, N.Y.) took the 114th spot. St. Anselm College was at 122th, St. Norbert College followed at 127th, and St. Vincent College (Latrobe, Pa.) ranked 152nd. The last Catholic school among tier-one schools was Carroll College (Helena, Mont.).
Catholic schools fared even better among regional listing, crowding top spots. I’m only listing the schools that fell in the top 25 here.
In the North of the U.S. the first four spots were held by Villanova University, Providence College, Loyola University Maryland and Fairfield University respectively. Marist University tied with the University of Scranton for 10th place. St. Joseph’s University came in 13th, followed by LaSalle University at 19. Canisius College ranked 20th. Mount St. Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, Md.) fell in at 22nd, and Nazareth College (Rochester, N.Y.) won 25th.
In the South, Loyola University New Orleans was the top ranking Catholic school at 7th. Bellarmine College was 12th, Spring Hill College was 17th and Christian Brothers University was 21st. Wheeling Jesuit University and Xavier University of Louisiana tied for 22nd.
In the Midwest, Creighton University took first place. Xavier University (Cincinnati) came in 3rd. John Carroll University ranked 7th. The College of St. Catherine was 17th, followed by Dominican College (River Forest, Ill.) at 19th. The College of St. Scholastica tied with Rockhurst University for 24th place.
In the vast West, Santa Clara University, Loyola Marymount University and Gonzaga University respectively took the 2nd, 3rd and 4th spots. Seattle University closely followed in 6th place, with the University of Portland at 9th. St. Mary’s College of California ranked 12th. The University of Dallas came in 15th. St. Mary’s University of San Antonio ranked 19th with St. Edward’s University at 21. Mount St. Mary College (Los Angeles) came in at 25.
You either hate or love rankings, and the criteria change from organization to organization and from year to year. But most reasonable people would agree that the best college or university in the country is the one where a student thrives.