Westmont remains in the top 100 best liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report for the ninth straight year. “America’s Best Colleges, 2018 Edition” lists Westmont as tied for No. 96 among the nation’s liberal arts colleges.
Only eight other liberal arts colleges in California appear in the top 100: Pomona (T-6th), Claremont McKenna (T-9th), Harvey Mudd (T-12th), Scripps (T-26th), Pitzer (T-33rd) Occidental (T-44nd) and Thomas Aquinas (T-58th) Colleges. Soka University of America, which was reclassified in 2010, ranked tied for 39th.
“The ranking reflects Westmont’s commitment to rigorous academic study that cultivates critical thinking and effective communication skills,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We also encourage students to grow in all areas of their lives and develop a deep love of God, preparing them to lead wisely as they serve others in a variety of careers throughout the world.”
Westmont’s overall score (56) rose two points as the result of a higher peer assessment score (2.8), improved high school counselor assessment score (3.5), higher graduation rate (78 percent), a high percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students (68 percent) and a decrease in the percentage of classes of 50 or more students (1 percent).
Only one other member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) joins Westmont in the top 100 liberal arts colleges, and Westmont is the only CCCU school in California listed in the first tier.
“The host of intangibles that make up the college experience cannot be measured by a series of data points,” said Robert J. Morse and Eric M. Brooks of U.S. News. “They help you compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as first-year retention rates, graduation rates and the strength of the faculty.”
“Along with the U.S. News rankings, I hope college-bound students consider such factors as community, spiritual life and their relationships with faculty when choosing a college,” says Silvio Vazquez, dean of admission. “About 70 percent of students participate in an internship before graduating. The student to faculty ratio at Westmont is 12 to 1 and our 4-year graduation rate is 17 percentage points higher than the 6-year national average.
“We are also committed to financially supporting our students through the college’s scholarship and grant program. About 95 percent of our students receive aid and for the first-year class entering in 2016, the average award was more than $35,000.”
The U.S. News rankings are based on several key measures of quality. Scores for each measure are weighted as shown to arrive at a final overall score. In the case of the national universities and national liberal arts colleges, the assessment figure represents input from both academic peers (15 percent) and high school guidance counselors (7.5 percent).
For five straight years, Forbes Magazine has ranked Westmont in the top 100 colleges and universities in its survey, “The 100 Top ROI Colleges: The Grateful Grads Index.”
The Princeton Review saluted Westmont in its “2018 Best Colleges Region by Region” as “academically outstanding and well worth consideration in your college search.”