Professor Claire Kervin points at a large screen as she talks with student Juli Clarkson about her work in Environmental Justice and Citizenship.
Claire Kervin, assistant professor of English and director of fellowships advising, talks with Juli Clarkson, a sophomore, as Clarkson gives a final presentation in Environmental Justice and Citizenship in November in Youngchild Hall. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Lawrence University is ranked among the top 10 small colleges in the Midwest in the recently released Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings.

The rankings are divided into categories of small schools (undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 3,000 students), midsize schools (3,000 to 10,000 undergraduates), and large schools (more than 10,000 undergraduates).

Lawrence, with an enrollment of about 1,500, placed 10th among small schools and is the only Wisconsin school to earn a top-10 designation in the small-school category. It drew particularly high marks for academic resources, including access to faculty courtesy of small class sizes.

“I’m happy—and not surprised—to see that this particular ranking has zeroed in on the strength of the experience our students have had while they’re here, especially how our students are surrounded by exceptional classmates who inspire and motivate them,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment. “It speaks to the transformative nature not just of the education we provide, but the culture we create.”

The WSJ/THE ranking is based on 15 factors across four main categories: Forty percent of each school’s overall score comes from student outcomes, including measures of graduate salaries and debt burdens; 30% from the school’s academic resources, including how much it spends on teaching; 20% from how well it engages its students; and 10% from its environment, a measure of student and faculty diversity.

Lawrence, which is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding, has long used its small size as a strength. Its 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio is among the lowest in the country, allowing students to forge productive partnerships with professors in the classroom, in research pursuits, and in music, theater, and dance performance spaces. The school’s college of arts and sciences and its conservatory of music are consistently ranked among the best in the country.

In the fall, Lawrence drew high praise for undergraduate teaching and first-year experience in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. That, too, spoke to the relationship between Lawrence’s faculty and students and the academic opportunities provided beyond the classroom.

In the WSJ/THE overall national ranking that includes all schools regardless of size, Lawrence placed 168th.

Lawrence University is celebrating its 175th anniversary during 2022. When founded on January 15, 1847 along the banks of the Fox River in what is now known as Appleton, Wisconsin, Lawrence became one of the first co-educational institutions of higher learning in the country. It continues to build on the vision of its founders, focused on excellence while embracing a liberal arts approach to undergraduate education. With about 1,500 students drawn from nearly every state and more than 40 countries, Lawrence features a college of arts and sciences and a conservatory of music, both annually ranked among the best in the nation. See more at