College Guide

Rankings

Below are the Washington Monthly's 2012 liberal arts college rankings. 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 PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). For an explanation of each category, click here. For more information about the overall goals of the rankings, click here. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

Use the above dropdown menu to switch to different categories of schools. Click on the "sort" button at the top of each column to sort schools by that category. You can also sort the list by state or by name of college. * Indicates a public school, ° indicates a for-profit school.

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†† Due to an error in compiling the 2012 Washington Monthly college rankings, Colgate University did not receive credit for the number of its graduates who earn PhDs. Colgate should therefore have been ranked 37th overall among Liberal Arts Colleges, not 101st. Had the correct data been included in the original rankings, some institutions would have received a slightly different rank. But because in most cases the difference would be only one ordinal position, and because the error was discovered only after the print issue of the magazine was mailed, we have chosen not to redo the entire rankings. We regret the error.

Research
Service
    
  Overall
Score
Students
receiving
Pell grants
Net pricePredicted grad rate Actual grad rate RankResearch
expenditures,
in millions
Rank
Bachelor's
to PhD
rank
Peace
Corps
Rank
ROTC
Rank
Federal
work-study
funds spent
on service
Rank
Community
service
participation
and hours
served
Rank
Service
staff,
courses and
financial aid
support
Rank
1Bryn Mawr College (PA)10021%1931686%87%997.488132711866%11219
2Swarthmore College (PA)9016%1997991%93%1112.98291641188%202468
3Berea College (KY)8890%050%64%10.00105431881187%2091945
4Carleton College (MN)8814%2703694%93%2234.58153711812%1446831
5Harvey Mudd College (CA)7912%2894695%87%2443.212522011820%649193
6New College of Florida (FL)*7925%951973%68%210.6677812111864%29193
7Williams College (MA)7618%1679191%95%554.691354811818%839193
8Macalester College (MN)7314%2222589%88%1634.391621129621%594217
9Wellesley College (MA)7215%1831591%90%928.42315188024%379193
10Amherst College (MA)7020%1380594%95%403.6320914811824%359193
11Knox College (IL)7022%2248785%76%2220.00105301011844%43292
12Oberlin College (OH)6910%3256792%88%2461.9945121711825%312551
13Wesleyan University (CT)6917%2070591%94%1158.404185811619%718882
14Reed College (OR)6915%1955985%79%1571.904744511815%1089193
15Smith College (MA)6717%2203784%83%1624.6114142811825%327572
16Davidson College (NC)6612%2266384%91%1251.495616392424%36944
17Tougaloo College (MS)6585%942238%40%122.9830581736010%1769193
18Haverford College (PA)6514%2036885%92%833.6221108811812%1513486
19St. John's College (MD)6514%2330777%73%1970.001056611815%1079193
20Grinnell College (IA)6420%2181387%88%1462.07437191189%1819193
21Vassar College (NY)6220%1924192%93%961.2861112911819%729193
22Millsaps College (MS)6123%1593771%68%690.727337983418%772810
23Willamette University (OR)6023%2563079%78%2082.064481139422%48775
24Kalamazoo College (MI)6014%2641976%80%1840.7672203811816%955121
25Warren Wilson College (NC)5925%2466367%49%2480.0010512951180%230102
26Pomona College (CA)5917%1708794%94%682.923117541069%1879193
27Rhodes College (TN)5815%2563978%80%1830.807048324515%115124
28Bates College (ME)5712%2008481%88%781.59533212511818%74138
29Guilford College (NC)5759%2212559%58%1580.001051371227825%337015
30Whitman College (WA)5711%2999482%86%2211.425822311823%437787
31Xavier University of Louisiana (LA)5664%1683347%34%1668.03586172298%1989193
32Spelman College (GA)5646%2640454%73%1073.182839113189%1821537
33Emory and Henry College (VA)5539%1791349%57%560.0010511113111811%16531
34Wesleyan College (GA)5544%1217756%49%450.001057419811819%68620
35Hollins University (VA)5545%2392260%63%1610.00105497711812%1356169
36Centre College (KY)5515%2210279%86%1140.0010570603522%513343
37
††
Colgate University (NY)5511%1898889%88%1102.8532353411736%119193
37Agnes Scott College (GA)5539%1908569%68%1121.884826897334%159193
38Claflin University (SC)5476%903438%46%73.25241711981214%1194789
39Lawrence University (WI)5322%2567074%73%2090.7871347911823%424435
40Earlham College (IN)5326%1992171%73%1060.0010525211815%1059193
41Allegheny College (PA)5322%2605578%78%2030.5188277211230%229130
42St. Olaf College (MN)5317%2555783%85%1871.575446211188%1975465
43Mount Holyoke College (MA)5218%2349687%82%2042.793423248623%459193
44Granite State College (NH)*5265%748528%54%20.0010520519810717%879193
45Southwestern University (TX)5122%2291778%73%1960.00105646611814%1163813
46Washington and Lee University (VA)516%1882990%93%800.9466961063740%63941
47Hamilton College (NY)5113%2014689%88%1323.1927453611827%299193
48Morehouse College (GA)5144%2388453%57%1547.86610486518%849193
49Oglethorpe University (GA)5036%2028963%58%1640.001059517911814%125739
50Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)5016%2582185%81%2270.71741235010013%1281438
51Fisk University (TN)5047%1913439%59%417.70744797414%1189193
52Denison University (OH)5017%2490483%83%1920.6281902310216%945053
53Westminster College (MO)5028%1762569%63%1220.001051261194823%413114
54Claremont McKenna College (CA)5010%2042387%93%865.7395926814%1229193
55Thomas Aquinas College (CA)5039%1844281%73%1520.00105711081180%2309193
56Lewis & Clark College (OR)4916%2740382%76%2382.753599411120%659193
57Ohio Wesleyan University (OH)4922%2390772%63%2310.341011036211829%252257
58Judson College (AL)4943%1373247%39%650.00105134996312%149726
59Dillard University (LA)4969%1264239%28%638.432118180260%2309193
60Wheaton College (IL)4920%2185081%88%1080.0010536731121%569193
61Central College (IA)4828%2001266%64%1400.001051737011826%301811
62Kenyon College (OH)488%2847689%86%2350.4196191111821%579193
63Pitzer College (CA)4814%2311582%79%1850.3598821096613%12627
64Hobart William Smith Colleges (NY)4824%2789870%75%1981.43571454411828%26846
65Albion College (MI)4829%2067874%74%1310.0010577671188%1966374
66Bowdoin College (ME)4813%2246789%93%1362.6337355511812%1479193
67Hiram College (OH)4839%2001561%68%770.001051051831059%1805833
68Alma College (MI)4737%1759871%63%1370.001051244311810%1662916
69Bucknell University (PA)479%2717386%92%1815.461062964011%1633563
70Colorado College (CO)479%2379285%87%1650.67762488218%859193
71Barnard College (NY)4719%2448189%88%1863.3523429011822%529193
72Franklin and Marshall College (PA)4713%2698385%87%2053.77187313211812%1382481
73University of Hawaii-Hilo (HI)*4744%779729%33%514.8611871699012%1509193
74William Jewell College (MO)4727%1941471%65%1530.001055517810121%583039
75Middlebury College (VT)4710%2159491%91%1502.2939285310322%499193
76Lake Forest College (IL)4733%2353472%70%1820.53861387111816%982664
77Connecticut College (CT)4710%2346477%87%1131.5355521511829%238140
78Occidental College (CA)4718%2906084%85%2282.294040819830%209193
79Whittier College (CA)4732%2569169%66%2200.0010514318611861%37834
80Hendrix College (AR)4621%1989681%60%2450.6678611148417%889193
81College of St. Benedict (MN)4622%2224473%79%1180.00105154687227%287425
82University of Richmond (VA)4616%1737282%87%574.051710294258%1917628
83Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)4622%2094578%77%1450.3110383744711%1534566
84Colby College (ME)469%1922285%90%751.785229469222%509193
85Beacon College (FL)4682%2805243%73%730.001052051981180%2309193
86Doane College (NE)4539%1678360%55%930.001051861419939%78352
87Coe College (IA)4522%2016975%70%1600.46951281043237%105778
88Illinois College (IL)4529%1700961%61%700.001052058711812%14553
89Drew University (NJ)4526%3099867%71%2300.00105601279123%441671
90Centenary College of Louisiana (LA)4532%1460664%60%580.00105107561188%2016650
91Juniata College (PA)4422%2300972%71%1760.5187684111810%1696461
92Salem College (NC)4447%1438157%57%480.001051678411834%149193
93Savannah State University (GA)*4473%756331%35%41.8750193198918%769193
94Hampshire College (MA)4420%2657778%69%2410.5783313711814%1179193
95Dickinson College (PA)4410%2510483%82%2012.114191471318%754862
96Univ. Science & Arts of Oklahoma (OK)*4448%524638%32%30.0010517519811815%1139193
97Sterling College (VT)4446%1674945%50%500.0010520511180%2309193
98Wartburg College (IA)4434%1883862%63%900.001051571711187%221204
99Furman University (SC)4415%2414277%84%1422.313833921713%1279193
100St. John's University (MN)4319%2154970%74%1270.648087118311%1568922