Allegheny ranked one of top Liberal Arts Colleges

Eylie Buehler, Features Editor

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For the past several years Allegheny College has been ranked among some of the most outstanding schools in the country.

This year Allegheny was listed in the The Princeton Review’s “The Best 380 Colleges 2016 Edition” which ranks higher education institutions in a wide range of categories.

Allegheny was also named one of the “Top 25 Best Liberal Arts Colleges” in Washington Monthly’s college rankings for the third year in a row.

Brian Dalton, vice president of enrollment and college relations said that Washington Monthly specifically uses three main criteria to rank the schools.

“We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country,” Washington Monthly printed.

“We know as a community that Allegheny is very strong at all of those categories,” Dalton said.  “When we had ranked among the top 25 private schools in the country that’s a reinforcement of our value proposition and it’s a reinforcement of who we are.  It just validates why we do what we do here.”

President James Mullen said that the Washington Monthly ranking has been one of value because of it’s emphasis in areas concerning public good.

“This ranking is particularly meaningful in my mind, because it focuses on the institution’s commitment to the public good,” Mullen said.  “We all can be proud of the socioeconomic backgrounds, to encouraging students to pursue research and graduate study and to fostering a shared sense of responsibility to serve.”

Mullen said that the ranking places Allegheny alongside some of the most distinguished colleges in the country.

“Given our history and values, the quality of our academic program, as well as that of our faculty, staff and students, that is just the company we should share,” Mullen said.

Dalton said that Allegheny aims to be one of the best regardless of the recognition that the college receives.

“Well this is the third year in a row that we were listed in Washington Monthly so it has been around for a while and then when we cracked the top 25 it wasn’t like ‘boy aren’t we lucky’ it was more like ‘finally someone is noticing our outcomes and our data and what our students are doing,’” Dalton said.

Mullen agreed with Dalton and said that the college has always been one of the top programs in the nation whether it was noted or not.

“I have always believed that we are among the best institutions in the nation,” Mullen said.  “I see it every day as I walk across the campus and see the extraordinary learning and service taking place here.  I have never needed a ranking to convince me of our excellence, but it is nice when the work taking place here is recognized by the wider world.”

Dalton said that even though there is established criteria in which schools are ranked, there is no guarantee that Allegheny will remain in the top 25 schools.

“Every once in a while they will mess with the criteria,” Dalton said.  “We were 24 out of 25 so it’s quite possible that we could drop a point or two in the rankings based on their criteria but I’m just thankful for the here and now.  And even if we should drop we still have three years running that I think gives us credit.”

Dalton said that some of the rankings are fairly predictable as long as the school stays consistent in the categories they place.  He said Allegheny is not expected to change in the rankings too much if at all.

“Quite frankly, I’ll put Allegheny up against any other private school simply because our campus is excellent and our students are too and the way we do things here is rather unique and that’s what these rankings recognize,” Dalton said.

While the faculty and staff play a large part in what makes Allegheny outstanding the students are living proof of the above and beyond education and where Allegheny can take you.

“The students are the most visible evidence of the quality of what takes place on our campus,” Mullen said.  “It is their achievements in the classroom and community that give proof of Allegheny’s stature as a residential liberal arts college.  As I often say, in who they are and what they represent, they give us all the great gift of hope.”

While positive ratings and recognition help in getting the word out about Allegheny, Dalton said there is no replacement for actually visiting the campus and getting to know the students and staff.

“In social media in particular and among certain segments of the population the ratings are very meaningful,” Dalton said.  “People tend to understand that visiting the campus is much more important than any type of anecdotal data and getting a feel for the place is the way to go.  Don’t just pick up a magazine and tear out the top 25.”

Dalton said there are a number of different colleges across the country that have different missions and provide different experiences.

Along with the Washington Monthly and Princeton Review rankings Allegheny was also recognized in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges,” among 40 schools in Loren Pope’s “Colleges that Change Lives,” was one of only 24 schools to receive a score of 99, the highest possible score, in The Princeton Review.

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