April 04, 2020

Bowdoin, Bates, Colby among top schools

BRUNSWICK – Three liberal arts colleges in Maine were listed among the best in the latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine’s Sept. 11 issue looked at 162 liberal arts colleges in the country.

Bowdoin College in Brunswick tied for sixth, along with three others.

Bates College in Lewiston and Colby College in Waterville tied for 19th.

Last year, the magazine ranked the schools 9, 23 and 18, respectively.

“We are happy we’re doing well, but we try not to put too much emphasis on it,” said Bowdoin spokeswoman Allyson Algeo.

Amherst College in Massachusetts was ranked first among liberal arts colleges. Princeton University was ranked first among universities.

The University of Maine at Farmington ranked first among northern public liberal arts colleges.

The magazine looks at 16 factors to determine the ranking.

Academic reputation carries the greatest weight, accounting for 25 percent of a school’s score.

The scores are determined by asking administrators to rank peer schools on a five-point scale, with one being marginal and five being distinguished.

Bowdoin was ranked 4.4 in academic reputation. Bates and Colby both scored 4.

Some of the other factors considered include freshman retention rate, faculty resources and the proportion of freshmen who were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

The ranking irks those in higher education each year. They argue that the scores do not consider other important factors and cannot fully convey an institution’s worth.

“The ranking suggests a precision that is unrealistic,” said Parker Beverage, Colby’s dean of admissions and financial aid. “Students ought to be about the business of finding the college that best fits their strengths and weaknesses. The highest ranking is not necessarily the best for them.”

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