WC Goes Up in WSJ Higher Ed. Ranks

By Cassandra Sottile
Elm Staff Writer

Washington College rose three points in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings for 2018.

Among all institutions across the country, the College is listed at 205, compared to 208 in 2017’s ranking, and is ranked 75th in liberal arts colleges in the country.

In a College press release, WC President Kurt Landgraf said, “What’s especially gratifying about our performance in this Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education list is that when you break out only liberal arts colleges, we are ranked 75th in the country. That’s an excellent standing, particularly for this survey which relies on real data and student input.”

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education uses student surveys as part of the data to consider in the rankings. It focuses on the outcomes of colleges, such as student debt, salaries after graduation, and what students can expect to happen after WC, Matt Kibler, director of institutional research and assessment, said.

“It is important that the school and its students are finally receiving the rank equal to what we as a community are putting out,” said Mari Mullane, sophomore. “Our graduates have an entire school behind them with professors who are at the top of their fields who all chose to work here instead of a larger school where they may have had better pay and more recognition.”

The student surveys used by the Wall Street Journal rankings examined more than 100,000 current students on their opinions of interactions with teachers, satisfaction with their education, and how engaging their academics and studies are.

“This is a place that I have a lot of hope and admiration for, between student body and administration, there are a ton of aspects I feel grateful to be surrounded by, so I am unsurprised that we rose in the rankings of liberal arts institutions,” said freshman Danny Palmatary.

According to the press release, some of the questions in the student survey asked whether students would choose WC again, if WC provides an environment where they feel surrounded by exceptional students who inspire them, and if WC is effective in helping them obtain valuable internships that help guide on a career path. On a scale of zero to 10, with 10 representing the strongest agreement, students answered between 7.7 and 8.1 for each of those questions.

“It’s a little disappointing that we’re not always recognized for the achievements and greatness we have on campus. So as a small campus and school, this is an amazing achievement,” said junior Jackie Glenn.

The College did not just rise in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings. In the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings for 2018, WC is ranked 96th among liberal arts colleges across the country, a steady elevation over the past three years since its 105th ranking in 2015.

The College was included in the annual Top 300 Best College Values by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in 2016, ranking 232nd among the top 300 institutions of the 1,200 surveyed, according to the press release.

Senior Lilly King said, “A college is a brand. Once a school goes higher up in ranking, its association rises and it will be viewed as better. Rankings can differentiate among other liberal arts schools. But what matters at WC is the fit, not the standing.”

The Wall Street Journal rankings used a variety of sources to compile its data. Other variables the rankings took into consideration were faculty-to-student ratio and the budgets for academics, ranking WC 149th.

“I am beyond happy that our school, one of the first schools established after our independence, funded by George Washington, and a school with such a rich history dedicated to helping its students is rising,” Mullane said.

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