Of all the rankings and miscellaneous data published in the annual USNWR “Best” Colleges edition, among the more interesting results is the list of colleges labeled “Up-and-Coming Schools.”
And this year, George Mason University, UMBC, and the University of Richmond all earned top spots among institutions “worth watching” because they are making promising and innovative changes.
Last spring, college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges in their peer ranking category that are making “changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, diversity and facilities.”
This question allowed officials to pick schools that are rapidly evolving in ways that may not be immediately evident to college-bound students and their parents. Colleges in this competition are ranked in order of the number of nominations received.
This is the fourth year UMBC has topped the national university list, while GMU rose from 2nd place last year. In the same ranking, Virginia Commonwealth University made its debut as an up-and-coming national university. And Roanoke joined Richmond among up-and-coming liberal arts colleges.
“We’re excited that national college and university leaders have placed Roanoke at a higher level than ever before,” said Michael Maxey, president of Roanoke. “It’s great to see they recognized the progress and innovation that occurs at Roanoke every day and how our faculty and these outstanding programs impact our students in great ways.”
Like other rankings, the lists of “up-and-coming colleges” should only be used as conversation starters. These are schools that have crept onto the radar of college administrators for some reason and could be interesting based on innovations in programming or improvements in facilities.
The value of a college’s location on the list is less important than the fact that they’ve made it onto the list at all. Someone somewhere thinks they might offer something new or different. So you might too.
Here are the national universities and liberal arts colleges USNWR lists as top up-and-coming (in alphabetical order):
- Allegheny College, PA
- Arizona State University
- Biola University, CA
- Clemson University, SC
- College of St. Benedict, MN
- Davidson College, NC
- Drexel University, PA
- George Mason University, VA
- Hendrix College, AR
- Hope College, MI
- IUPU—Indianapolis, IN
- North Carolina State University—Raleigh
- Northeastern University, MA
- Ohio State University
- Portland State University, OR
- Purdue University—West Lafayette, IN
- Roanoke College, VA
- Tulane University, LA
- University of Arkansas
- University of Central Florida
- University of Denver, CO
- University of Richmond, VA
- University of San Diego, CA
- University of Southern California
- Virginia Commonwealth University