According to this anonymous post at College Confidential (hat tip: Jeff), Williams is the number 1 ranked liberal arts college in the country.

1. Williams
2. Amherst
3. Swarthmore
4. Middleburry
4. Wellesley
6. Bowdoin
6. Pomona
8. Carleton
8. Davidson
10. Haverford


1) Official results will be out at midnight. In past years, leaked results have proven correct. I will wager that these are as well.

2) It is nice to see Williams at #1. Whatever complaints you may have about the methodology behind the ranking, there is no doubt that being #1 has a non-trivial impact on applications and yield, especially for international students. Williams should continue to, within reason, game the system by, for example, capping class sections at the magic cut-offs that US News uses.

3) The future looks good. Although the competition is tough, our most serious competitor is Amherst and they will face real headwinds given their financial constraints. Their endowment is in more trouble than ours. Their increase in enrollment will hurt the student:faculty ratio. These ranks are based on data from before the financial crash, so the Williams advantage over Amherst will only continue. Don’t be surprised if/when Amherst falls behind Swarthmore in a year or two. I also suspect that Middlebury’s recent (and deserved) rise may be in danger.

Welleseley is, in many ways, a very interesting competitor. But that is a post for another day.

4) It seems like a new feature is an explicit ranking of the quality of undergraduate teaching. Here are the top 10.

1. Pomona
2. Swarthmore
3. Davidson
3. Oberlin
5. Earlham
6. Carleton
6. Haverford
8. Williams
8. Reed
10. College of Wooster

It will be interesting to read about the methodology behind this result. Also, the peer assessments: “Williams is 4.7, Amherst is 4.6, Swarthmore and Wellesley are 4.5, Middleburry and Bowdoin are 4.3, Pomona, Carleton, Davidson and a few others are 4.2. Haverford and Claremont McKenna are 4.0.”

5) As I mention each year, there is a great senior thesis to be written about the rankings, similar to this article on the US News law school rankings. If you write such a thesis, hundreds of people around the country will read it.

UPDATE: It is official!

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