By Maria Wittenauer
Illinois College was recently ranked 128th out of 239 on a list of National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News, tied with Linfield College in McMinnville, OR, Marlboro College in Marlboro, VT, and McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Top on the list is Williams College in Williamstown, MA. There are over 500 liberal arts colleges in the US, so to make the list at all is an accomplishment in itself. According to the website, “Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.” The website provides a profile on each of the colleges, with information like type of school (private, public, coed, etc), tuition, year founded, the academic calendar, setting (IC is “rural”), religious affiliation, information for applying, selectivity, graduation rate, photos, and more. It also gives some ways that each college is unique. Specifically about IC, the website says, “The faculty expects excellence and provides personal attention that helps students succeed. Among many distinctions, old and new, we take pride in having a Phi Beta Kappa chapter since 1932. Our ‘BreakAway’ short-term off-campus experiences, our literary societies, and opportunities for undergraduate research also help make the Illinois College experience unique.”
What does this mean for us on the Hilltop? Stephanie Chipman says, “Illinois College jumped up 27 places from 155th to 128th in just two years, This ties us for the title of the fastest rising liberal arts college in the country. While college rankings tend to be flawed measures of quality, I’m incredibly proud that Illinois College’s commitment to student success is being recognized nationally. This kind of momentum is difficult to achieve and represents the dedication and commitment to excellence of our faculty and staff in preparing IC students to Graduate READY.” So, not only is IC ranked on the list, but it is rising at a rapid rate.
IC has also been ranked 21st on a list of the 49 Safest Colleges in Illinois by Background Checks. Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL is top on this list. The list is not limited to liberal arts colleges; the website states, “For the sake of this list, a ‘college’ is considered any accredited public or private not-for-profit institution that offers four-year degree programs.” The website also clarifies what criteria they used to judge a “safe” school, saying, “Campus crime stats, graduation rates, and student retention rates were taken from U.S. Department of Education annual reports. Crime rates are based on the number of crimes per 1,000 residents.” As for information on each college ranked, there is a small paragraph giving information about the history of the college, an estimation of enrollment, an idea of what studies are available, and other admirable features of the college. Some of the features listed for IC are research programs and study abroad options. This recognition goes to show that not only is IC rising in the ranks of liberal arts colleges, but is also admirable in safety measures.
Does the larger that usual number of freshman and these higher rankings prove that IC is, indeed, rising in quality? Do you agree that IC is improving?
Maria Wittenauer, from Springfield, Illinois, is a junior double-majoring in theatre and communication and rhetorical studies and minoring in English at Illinois College. Maria is a features editor for The Rambler, a consultant at the Writing Center, a transcriber for the History Department, and a member of Gamma Delta, the Women’s Chorale, and President Carter’s Patrol (PCP) Improv Troupe.