Posted: September 2, 2009
The Washington Monthly has ranked Mount Holyoke College second among the nation's liberal arts colleges in a survey measuring what colleges are doing for the country and reported in its September/October issue.
In an introduction to the annual college rankings issue, the Washington Monthly editors said they "gathered reams of publicly available data" and selected three criteria for measuring today's American colleges: social mobility, research, and service.
"In our eyes, America’s best colleges are those that work hardest to help economically disadvantaged students earn the credentials that the job market demands. They’re the institutions that contribute new scientific discoveries and highly trained Ph.Ds. They’re the colleges that emphasize the obligations students have to serve their communities and the nation at large," the editors wrote.
Mount Holyoke rated highly in the percentage of its students receiving Pell Grants, going on to earn a Ph.D., and joining the Peace Corps, as well as in its graduation rates, research spending, and percentage of federal work study funds spent on service.
Notably, three of the colleges in the local Five College Consortium are listed among the top six liberal arts institutions--Amherst College at number one, Mount Holyoke at number two, and Smith College at number six.
Equally impressive is the representation of women's colleges in the top tier: Four women's colleges appear among the top ten liberal arts colleges.
"There are only a handful of women’s colleges in America, but according to our rankings they play an outsized role in contributing to the public good," wrote the editors. "Mount Holyoke comes in at number two, a full  spots above its U.S. News ranking, followed quickly by Smith College at number six, Bryn Mawr at number seven, and Wellesley at number ten."