College shines in summer rankings
- Admissions breaks application records
- Professors ranked sixth in Review
- First-year mentoring program proposed
Although the College is located in rural Maine and has only a small community of fewer than 2000 students, it is no surprise that it received national attention this year. The College received recognition for being a “Girl Power” College from HerCampus, a “Trendy College” from The Huffington Post and one of the “Happiest Colleges” from Newsweek, as well as a top college on both the Forbes and US News and World Report national rankings.
“All of these positive mentions are good since they are easy to read—most are online—and they may encourage more prospective students to consider applying to the College,” Senior Associate Dean of Students Paul Johnston said.
The HerCampus “Girl Power” and The Huffington Post “Trendiest College” awards are purely based on positive mentions. HerCampus highlighted the women, gender and sexuality studies program and organizations such as the Feminist Alliance and Colby Women’s Group as opportunities for female empowerment.
The Huffington Post raved about the College community, calling it the trendiest “Woodsmen Stuck Together in the Middle of Nowhere” college. The article quoted an unnamed student saying, “there is a sense of closeness as a group of kids out in the woods in Maine that I don’t think people at other schools necessarily get.”
It is hard not to be pleased with the College’s place on Forbes and US News and World Report. The Forbes rankings are based on “the things that matter most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt at graduation.” The US News and World Report rankings are based on standardized testing scores, admission rates, average freshman-sophomore retention rates and six-year graduation rates. All of these factors combined make the College more attractive to prospective students and increase pride in current students.
Still, “There is no concerted effort [on behalf of the College] to get higher on the lists each year,” Johnston said. “We would rather be mentioned on these lists than not mentioned at all, but we do not want to boost our position in an artificial way,” he continued.
Johnston further noted that while the school hopes to hold high rankings, many of these lists have less to do with college goals and more to do with subjective information. For example, he wondered what made the College one of the “happiest schools” this year, and which guidelines were used to establish such a ranking.
Newsweek’s article used statistical information to compile the list of the “25 Happiest Schools.” It used grades on dining, housing and nightlife from College Prowler, a well-known website where current students grade their school in each category. Other criteria included the number of sunny days per year according to Sperling’s BestPlaces, student-teacher ratio and average indebtedness at graduation—statistics taken from the College Board.
Some students do not believe that all of these factors determine how happy Colby students are though. Hillary Keach ’13 did not believe that the number of sunny days per year category applies to the College. “We chose to come to school in Maine. If we cared that much about having a high number of sunny days per year, we would have gone to school in California,” she said.
Both Keach and Johnston appreciate the recognition from these acclaimed sources. However, according to Johnston, “The College is not as concerned about public opinion as we are about the students who are here. We want the students who are here to be well educated, to leave here employed and to feel that we have prepared them for the next level.”