• Donald Tetto

U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” recently ranked Southwestern 52nd among its listing of “Top Colleges,” up five spots from last year’s ranking of 57th. The magazine numerically ranks the nation’s 110 “best” liberal arts colleges, which “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts disciplines.”

Other Texas colleges ranked in the Best Liberal Arts Colleges category include Austin College (at No. 78) and the University of Dallas, which is not numerically ranked in its Third Tier classification.

Beyond Southwestern’s overall ranking of 52, the University ranks 20th among the nation’s top 217 liberal arts colleges in the category of faculty resources. That category measures student-faculty ratio (Southwestern’s is 10:1), average faculty salaries, and the percentage of classes under 20 students (currently 77%). Southwestern also scores favorably in the individual areas of financial resources and student selectivity. Among the 217 liberal arts colleges ranked in the national “Liberal Arts Colleges–Bachelor’s” category, Southwestern also earned:

  • A financial resources rank of 41st.
  • A student selectivity rank of 46th.

The following measures were taken into account by the U.S. News ranking methodology:

  • 60% of entering Fall 2002 Southwestern students ranked in the top 10% of graduating classes
  • Southwestern maintained an admission acceptance rate of 61 percent
  • SAT scores of entering first-year students averaged between 1140-1330
  • The retention rate of first-year students averaged 87 percent over a three-year period