College Rankings: At a Glance

Image of students at Mount Holyoke College gate

Last updated: September 13, 2021

Rankings: What do they mean to Mount Holyoke?

In 1837, Mary Lyon did the unthinkable. She founded what would become Mount Holyoke College — a liberal arts college for women and the first of the Seven Sisters, the female equivalent of the once predominantly male Ivy League. In the process, she forever changed the educational landscape for women around the world. For nearly two centuries, women have come to Mount Holyoke to develop their intellects and make their voices heard by cultivating the confidence to lead in every field imaginable.

Today, Mount Holyoke continues to be known for its academic rigor, diverse and global student body, and curricular innovation that includes connecting internship opportunities and career preparation to an academically rigorous liberal arts education. As a result, others take notice. Mount Holyoke has long been named one of the top colleges in the nation — and we are committed to our academic excellence.

Mount Holyoke College is consistently cited among the top liberal arts colleges in the world across a range of categories: strong academics, outstanding faculty and student research, high graduation and retention rates, our historic and stunningly beautiful campus, and access and affordability for students from all backgrounds. We remain focused on these mission-critical priorities to ensure that the bold legacy of Mary Lyon lives on for generations to come.

There are many college ranking and rating scales available as resources for prospective students, their families, students, alumni and community members. Each ranking is unique in the criteria utilized, the way data are collected, and the number and types of institutions measured. The list on this page provides a sampling of some of the most widely recognized rankings and where Mount Holyoke fits in their most recent ratings.

U.S. News & World Report

What it measures: reputation, resources, and selectivity (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: #30 among National Liberal Arts Colleges.
Other Mount Holyoke ranks: Mount Holyoke College also was recognized in a number of additional  U.S. News & World Report rankings, including being named #2 for Most International Students List, #36 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, #32 Least Debt at Graduation, #78 in Best Value Schools, #135 Undergraduate Computer Science Programs.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings have been around the longest (more than three decades) and collect information directly from colleges and universities, rather than relying on data from outside sources. The rankings evaluate colleges and universities on 16 measures of academic quality. These measures are grouped into the following indicators: outcomes, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving.

The Princeton Review

What it measures: student experience, sustainability (full methodology)
National Top Twenty Lists for Mount Holyoke: #1 Best Schools for Making an Impact (Private Schools), Great Classroom Experience, Great College Dorms, LGBTQ-Friendly, Great College Library, Most Beautiful Campus, Great Professors, and #10 Best Alumni Networks (Private Schools).
Other Mount Holyoke ratings: included in “The Best 387 Colleges,” “Best Northeastern Colleges,” “Green Colleges” and “Best Value Colleges” lists.

This ranking has been around for more than two decades. The Princeton Review’s The Best 386 Colleges consistently recognizes Mount Holyoke College. The Princeton Review does not rank by number, but rather names institutions based on student surveys and data that are collected directly from the institution. Inclusion in The Princeton Review is based on exceptional academics, financial aid, student life, sustainability and other factors. In addition to the “best colleges” list, The Princeton Review publishes annual lists of the top 20 schools in a large variety of student-experience measures.

Washington Monthly

What it measures: social mobility, public service (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: 47 of 214 Liberal Arts Colleges.
Additional Rankings: #88 of 208 in the "Affordable Elites" rank (most selective schools ranked by how well they serve non-wealthy students) and #215 of 393 in the "Best Bang for the Buck: Northeast" rank.

The Washington Monthly collects data from external sources and gives equal weight to “social mobility, research, and community service, based on factors including the amount of financial aid awarded, graduation rates, and resources allocated for research.”

Kiplinger Personal Finance

What it measures: best values (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: 30 among liberal arts colleges.
Other Mount Holyoke ranks: 53 overall among all colleges and universities.

Kiplinger ratings are based on an institution’s commitment to financial aid, low overall student debt upon graduation, graduation rates, and low student-to-faculty ratios. Kiplinger collects data from external sources first and then verifies them directly with colleges and universities.

Times Higher Education U.S. College Rankings

What it measures: resources, engagement, outcomes, environment (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: 20 among all U.S. Liberal Arts Colleges, 65 overall among all U.S. colleges in 2019.

The Times Higher Education U.S. College Ranking examines a range of issues related to four key areas: resources (e.g., finances per student and faculty, research papers by faculty), engagement (e.g., student engagement, interaction with teachers), outcomes (e.g., graduation rate and academic reputation), and environment (e.g., diversity and inclusion).

The Fiske Guide to Colleges

What it measures: best education value, student experience, and quality of life
National List for Mount Holyoke: One of 20 schools selected for the “Best Buy” designation from more than 320 U.S. colleges and universities in 2020. It is the only women’s college to qualify for the list.

The Fiske Guide to Colleges is the creation of a former New York Times education editor, Edward B. Fiske. He began the publication to give college-bound students and their families sound information on which to base their educational choices. The guide is now in its 36th year. The Fiske Guide to Colleges does not rank by number. The “Best Buy” designation is given to those schools that, according to the editors, offer “outstanding educational value as determined by academic quality in relation to the net cost of attendance.”