BRANDON CAMPBELL ’18
As a result of minor improvements, Trinity College rose two spots in the 2016 U.S. News and World Report rankings that were released earlier this month.
The annual list, which was released on Sept. 9, 2015 ranks nearly 1,800 colleges and universities across the country, and ranked Trinity 43rd among over 300 other national liberal arts colleges.
Robert Morse, the Director of Data and Research at U.S. News, said that Trinity’s change in the rank-ings was due to small improvements among the factors that contribute to the report.
“Trinity rose slightly in the rankings, and had small improvements in certain areas” said Morse, who compiles the annual U.S. News & World Report list.
Morse said that Trinity did better in the academic reputation category, which is calculated by ratings and assessment from high school counselors and other peer institutions, as well as the financial and faculty resources categories, which are calculated by addressing the funding available per student and the characteristics of the institution’s faculty, respectively.
Trinity also improved in the student selectivity category, which is calculated from admissions test scores, high school class rank, and acceptance rate of the college. Trinity’s accepts approximately one-third of all applicants.
Morse also emphasized, however, that these improvements were not necessarily made by Trinity administrators, but that improvements are also addressed relative to changes made by other liberal arts colleges.
Trinity’s drop in the rankings in the 2015 list, from 36th to 45th, was not a drastic drop according to Morse, but was due to a change in high school counselor reputation and the alumni donation rate, among other factors.
“Trinity was once a school with one of the top alumni giving rates, however it has kept on deteriorating over time, and was one of the biggest reasons why it fell nine places,” he said.
Trinity currently shares its spot in the rankings with Occidental College, in Los Angeles. Among NESCAC schools, Trinity only surpasses Connecticut College, who is tied for 48th. Williams College was ranked first among liberal arts colleges, followed by Amherst College, with Bowdoin College and Middlebury College tied for fourth.
Dean of Students Christopher Card said in an email that rankings are seen differently by many people, and should not be an indicator of an institutions goals or values.
“It is clear that rankings will mean different things to those who review them,” he said. “I think our college has been working hard in past years to ensure that the education we deliver to our students is of the highest quality and it is worth nothing that we are, in many ways, doing better than other institutions that outpace us in resources.”
He also addressed the issues behind the metrics of these rankings, adding that they can change every year, and are often based on several years’ worth of data. The ranking indicators and the respecitve categorical weights used in the ranking methodology, released along with this year’s list, were un-changed this year compared with the 2015 edition, according to the U.S. News website.
Special Assistant to President Berger-Sweeney, David Andres said that college ranking systems can often ignore unique factors that distinguish each school, and he advises future students to look beyond them.
“While [the rankings] may be one tool that prospective students and parents can use in the college search, it is more important for them to consider the best fit for an individual student,” Andres said in an email. “Our focus is on ensuring that we provide the best education and outcomes for our students. With those priorities in mind, we believe Trinity’s rank will improve over time.”