The 5 best liberal arts colleges of 2021, according to US News


On Monday, US News & World Report released its annual ranking of the nation’s top colleges, from large research universities to small liberal arts schools.

US News calculates its rank based on six categories that are each weighted differently: Student Achievement (40%), Faculty Resources (20%), Expert Opinion (20%), Financial Resources ( 10%), student excellence (7%) and alumni donations (3%).

For the first time, US News took student debt into account in its ranking. The student outcomes category now takes into account the average amount of federal debt accumulated among full-time undergraduate borrowers at the time of graduation and the percentage of full-time undergraduates in a class. who have borrowed federal loans.

This year’s top liberal arts colleges all have small classrooms, including the top Williams College, where 75% of classes have less than 20 students and only 3% of classes have 50 or more students. .

Getting into one of these schools is not easy. Admitted students have good high school results and high standardized test scores. However, many of these prestigious liberal arts schools have higher acceptance rates than top-notch universities.

For example, while the top-ranked national university, Princeton, only accepts 6% of students, Williams accepts almost 13% of applicants. Wellesley College, which ranks fourth in the US News Liberal Arts School Rankings, has an acceptance rate of 22%.

Top-ranked liberal arts colleges also tended to perform better than top-ranked national universities on comparative measures of social mobility, which are designed to represent a school’s likelihood of helping students to improve their situation taking into account graduation rates and post-graduation performance. of students eligible for Federal Pell Grants.

Here are the 5 best liberal arts colleges of 2021, according to US News – and what it takes to get into them.

1. Williams College

Williams College

Denis Tangney Jr | Getty Images

Average score on the SAT: 1410-1550

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 85%

Acceptance rate: 13%

2. Amherst College

Amherst College

Source: Amherst College

Average score on the SAT: 1410-1550

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 88%

Acceptance rate: 11%

3. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

aimintang | Getty Images

Average score on the SAT: 1380-1540

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 87%

Acceptance rate: 9%

4. Pomona College (tie)

Pomona College

Ted Soqui | Corbis | Getty Images

Average score on the SAT: 1390-1540

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 93%

Acceptance rate: 7%

4. Wellesley College (tie)

Wellesley College

David L Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Average score on the SAT: 1360-1530

Share of first-year students in the top 10% of their high school class: 79%

Acceptance rate: 22%

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