U.S. News, others rank W&M among top universities

By staff September 13, 2016

The beginning of fall means the culmination of college rankings season, and William & Mary once again finds itself on several lists of the nation’s best.

In one such ranking released today by U.S. News and World Report, William & Mary moved up two spots to 32nd (tied with the University of Rochester) in the magazine’s rankings of top national universities. W&M remained sixth among all public schools in the country.  

As part of the Best Colleges 2017 guidebook, U.S. Newsalso included William & Mary on its lists of colleges with the best undergraduate teaching (12th) and best undergraduate business programs (tied for 43rd), as well as a ranking based on feedback from high-school counselors (tied for 36th). In addition, the university’s first-year experience effort was included on a list of “Programs to Look For.” William & Mary ranked 19th (tied with the University of Rochester) in the magazine’s list ofbest colleges for veterans.


The U.S. News ranking revealed an increase in alumni giving, too, from an average rate of 24 percent in last year’s report to 26 percent this year. The number reflects the average percentage of living alumni with bachelor’s degrees who gave to W&M in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Over the past five years, William & Mary’s alumni giving rank in U.S. News has risen from 33rd to 20th. 


Since U.S. News data is a year behind, that trend should continue as W&M’s undergraduate alumni giving rate for the 2015-16 fiscal year improved to nearly 29 percent. As part of the For the Bold fundraising campaign, William & Mary has a goal of increasing its alumni participation to 40 percent by 2020.

The U.S. News rankings are based on several factors, including graduation and retention rates, assessment of excellence, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance (the difference between expected and actual rates) and alumni giving. The Best Colleges 2017 guidebook will be available in stores Oct. 4.

The U.S. News report is the latest of several national college rankings to be released over the last few months.

In July, Forbes ranked William & Mary fifth among the nation’s top 25 public colleges and 38th overall, both up a spot from the year before. That same month, Money Magazine ranked William & Mary 36th on its list of “Best Colleges for Your Money.” Last week, College Factual joined with USA Today to publish another ranking of colleges and universities. In that report, William & Mary was ranked 52nd in the nation and third in Virginia.


At the end of August, The Princeton Reviewpublished its own annual college guide, The Best 381 Colleges: 2017 Edition, which includes a profile of William & Mary. According to a press release, only 15 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities were included.


Although the colleges included in the guide are not ranked overall, the book includes 62 top-20 rankings, which are based on student surveys. William & Mary appears on several of those top-20 lists, including: Most Engaged in Community Service (fourth), Most Active Student Government (fourth), LGBTQ-Friendly (eighth), Their Students Love These Colleges (eighth), Lots of Race/Class Interaction (10th), Colleges That Pay You Back Without Aid (12th), Happiest Students (16th), Best College Library (19th) and Most Beautiful Campus (20th).