GREENCASTLE -- DePauw University ranked 43rd on the liberal arts list in the recently-released 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News Media Group.
The rankings, which include more than 1,400 schools nationwide, are available at www.usnews.com/colleges, will also be published in the September issue of the U.S. News & World Report.
DePauw received 69 out of a possible 100 points in the rankings, and tied with Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania and New York's Union College for 43rd place -- a six-spot jump from last year.
"My advice for any student looking at colleges would be to look at a wide range of information," said Ken Owen, DePauw's executive director of media relations. "This (list) is one tool, but it is not the tool. It is helpful and can be a symbol of quality, but students really need to keep an open mind, do their own research and visit campuses."
Bill Tobin, director of institutional research at DePauw, said U.S. News Media Group put "some effort into using various input" in compiling the list, noting that a list of all colleges and universities in the country was sent to college deans of admission and presidents, who were asked to rank the institutions.
"It's terribly subjective," Tobin said. "It's sort of based in selectivity -- things like how much money the university has, alumni involvement, students scores, class sizes, graduation and retention."
Tobin said what being included in the list actually means to DePauw University as a whole "depends on who you talk to."
"If you ask the people in alumni development or admissions, and maybe even some students, it's a big deal," he said. "For the faculty, maybe not. (The list) doesn't say anything about the value added at the university or what the students are learning."
Tobin said being included in the list was probably also helpful to schools without big athletic programs.
"It can be good for schools that don't have a lot of name recognition," he said. "I guess the bottom line is, it's nice, but not necessary."
Although Tobin wasn't convinced being named to the list was a huge boon for DePauw, he said the U.S. News Media Group rankings were probably more prestigious than those compiled by other media outlets.
"We send them our data, which is publicly available anyway, and they give the best effort," he said. "They still get a C-, but they do a lot better than the rest."
The 2010 America's Best Colleges features the established rankings of the Best National Universities, Best Liberal Arts Colleges, and Best Historically Black Colleges, and includes rankings of Best Colleges for Financial Aid, A+ Schools for B Students, and Up-and-Coming Schools. This year, U.S. News has further expanded the ranking categories to also include Best Colleges for Undergraduate Teaching.
The top 10 on the liberal arts college list were Williams College, Amerherst College, Swarthmore College, Middlebury College, Wellesley College, Bowdoin College, Pomona College, Carleton College, Davidson College and Haverford College.