BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan University moved up five places in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of national liberal arts colleges in its newest “Best Colleges” publication.
IWU is ranked 65th this year, up from 70th last year and 71st in 2011. The rating is based on both objective criteria — such as admission test scores, retention rates and graduation rates — and subjective criteria, including a poll of high school counselors, college presidents and deans regarding the reputation of other schools.
U.S. News ranked 240 national liberal arts colleges, defined as those that emphasize a strong undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in liberal arts fields.
Eureka College moved up one notch, to 32, among Regional Colleges in the Midwest. In 2011, it was ranked 40th.
Illinois State University moved up four spots to 152d among national universities and from 83rd to 81st among national public universities.
Although some schools, IWU included, question the value of many rankings, Tony Bankston, IWU’s dean of admissions, said, “It’s part of the landscape. People do pay attention to them, especially internationally.”
He said what students — and parents — don’t always realize is there is not a lot of difference between schools that are in the middle of the rankings and it all comes down to the best fit for the student.
“What you look for as an institution is you always want to be making progress. You always want to be improving,” said Bankston. “The quality of our incoming class has continued to stay high.”