Five Colleges fare well in latest national rankings

  • Amherst College students are silhouetted against Mount Norwottuck and the Holyoke Range as they play Frisbee on the south end of the college's quad. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2019 10:57:25 PM

AMHERST — As students return to college across the Pioneer Valley, so too is a yearly visitor that some college administrators await with anticipation: the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

The Valley’s colleges and university fared well in the latest rankings, which are meant to be a barometer of a school’s quality.

On this year’s list, Amherst College was ranked the second-best liberal arts college in the country, with Smith College coming in at 11th and Mount Holyoke College at 32nd.

Hampshire College is unranked due to the fact that it doesn’t accept SAT or ACT scores from applicants — a move made to make the admissions process more fair to low-income and minority applicants.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, meanwhile, ranked as the 24th top public school in the country — up from 26th the previous year. In the overall national university rankings, UMass placed 64th, up six spots.

“UMass Amherst’s rise to national prominence reflects our commitment to excellence and innovative thinking,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a press release announcing the rankings.

The rankings are often touted as a way to measure schools against one another, and many colleges and universities pay close attention to their year-to-year movement on the list.

However, the U.S. News and World Report rankings often have come under fire from opponents who say that some of the factors schools are judged on — alumni giving and faculty salaries, for example — are just a measure of an institution’s wealth. Critics also say the rankings focus too heavily on biased factors like standardized test scores.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at

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