College Rankings: At a Glance

Image of students at Mount Holyoke College gate

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, established as the equivalent of the male-only 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.

One question our alumnae, prospective students, and parents ask is how this excellence is reflected in popular college rankings and ratings. We are driven by Mount Holyoke’s mission of academic excellence rather than by rankings, which are limited in their ability to encapsulate the full Mount Holyoke experience. However, the College does pay careful attention to the metrics that focus on the values central to our mission—academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, access and affordability, civic responsibility, strong support for an exceptional faculty, and engaged alumnae. As our endowment grows, we will continue to be able to improve on those metrics and be positioned better in the areas in which we are measured.

To be sure, there are many college ranking and rating scales available as resources for prospective students and their families. 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: 36 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 #16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching List, #34 in High School Counselor Rankings and #50 in Best Value Schools.

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. These rankings are based on seven factors: academic reputation, graduation and retention, graduation rate performance, faculty resources, selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

The Princeton Review

What it measures: student experience, sustainability (full methodology)
National Top Twenty Lists for Mount Holyoke:
 #2 Best Classroom Experience, #5 LGBTQ-Friendly, #9 Best College Library, #12 Best College Dorms, #13 Professors Get High marks, and #16 Most Liberal Students. 
Other Mount Holyoke ratings: included in "The Best 382 Colleges," “Best Northeastern Colleges,” “Green Colleges” and "Colleges That Pay You Back" lists.

This ranking has been around for more than two decades, The Princeton Review’s The Best 382 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 list is based on exceptional academics, financial aid, student life, sustainability, and other factors. In addition to the “best colleges” list, Princeton Review publishes annual lists of the top 20 schools in a large variety of student-experience measures.

Forbes

What it measures: student satisfaction, post-graduate success (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: 56 among Liberal Arts Universities.
Other Mount Holyoke ranks: The College was named #51 on the ROI Grateful Grads Index, #63 in the Northeast, #6 in Best Colleges for International Students and received a coveted grade of A for financial health.

Currently the Forbes rating is based on a three-year weighted average of the overall rank. Forbes does not collect data directly from institutions, and instead relies on external sources such as self-reported satisfaction data gathered through Facebook surveys and alumnae salary data compiled by Payscale.com.

Washington Monthly

What it measures: social mobility, public service (full methodology)
Mount Holyoke rank: 100 of 240 liberal arts colleges.
Additional Rankings: #16 in the "Research Rank" and #18 in the "Bachelor's to PhD 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: 41 among liberal arts colleges.
Other Mount Holyoke ranks: 71 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: 77 overall among U.S. colleges in 2017.

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).