Wash U climbs into top 15, leads Missouri contingent in annual ‘Best Colleges’ ranking

Once again, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri in Columbia and Truman State University have made moves up the annual ranking of best colleges published by U.S. News & World Report. Some of the state’s smaller schools also received some big attention, with College of the Ozarks ranking first in four categories.

The entire list is composed of 1,477 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions assessed on 17 measures of academic quality.

Ranking No. 14 among “national universities” and No. 17 in “best value” among its class, Wash U improved on its 2021 rankings in those categories — No. 16 and No. 20, respectively. The national university category includes research institutions offering a variety of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.

Also in the national universities category, St. Louis University tied for No. 103 and ranked No. 56 in best value.

The University of Missouri in Columbia rose 13 spots in the overall best value category, to No. 72. It ranked No. 122 among national universities and No. 58 in the top public schools category.

College of the Ozarks, a small Christian school located near Branson, ranked first or tied for first in four categories — regional Midwest colleges, best value schools for the Midwest region, most innovative schools and top performers in social mobility.

Other Missouri schools ranking in the regional Midwest colleges category are Cottey College at No. 4, William Jewell College at No. 8, Drury University at No. 12 and Webster University at No. 16.

Truman State University inched up the listing of regional Midwest universities by one position, to No. 6. Regional universities are classified as schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, a handful master’s programs and limited doctoral-level options. In its division, the Kirksville university also ranked No. 1 in best value, as well as the No. 1 public school.

Among the 17 factors considered in creating the U.S. News ranking are class size, academic majors offered, standardized test scores of accepted students, retention of graduate students and undergraduate academic reputation.

Because of challenges in administering the SAT during the 2020-2021 school year, the weight of the SAT test in this consideration was lessened and other factors, such as historical data, were considered in factoring the results.

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