Lawrence University is ranked as the No. 1 liberal arts college in Wisconsin and one of the best in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges rankings.
The 2022-23 rankings, released Monday, lists Lawrence 63rd among all liberal arts colleges in the country and celebrates Lawrence for its excellent undergraduate teaching and its efforts to provide students with an engaged first-year experience.
Lawrence, which draws about 37% of its incoming class from Wisconsin and Illinois, is the only liberal arts college in Wisconsin to land in the top 75 nationally.
Lawrence saw its rankings climb in four sub-categories—Best Undergraduate Teaching, Best First-Year Experience, Best Value, and Most International Students. And it landed on the list of Top Performers on Social Mobility.
The strong rankings come as Lawrence has continued to lean into the value of a liberal arts education while upgrading and updating academic programs. It has added or strengthened programs in, among other areas, music, data science, computer science, creative writing, neuroscience, psychology, environmental science, ethnic studies, and global studies. In some cases, majors or minors were launched. In other instances, endowed professorships were added.
The Lawrence education is built on the quality of its undergraduate teaching, with an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, research opportunities across disciplines, and a faculty that’s engaged with students from First-Year Studies all the way through their Senior Experience. The College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music operate at high levels, with students encouraged to pursue opportunities in both, providing learning and performance avenues unavailable at most colleges.
That quality and commitment is reflected in the latest U.S. News rankings.
Now in its 38th year, the U.S. News rankings evaluate more than 1,450 colleges and universities—including 201 national liberal arts colleges. U.S. News publishes the Best Colleges rankings each year to provide prospective students and their families with data and information across a wide range of measurables spanning academic quality, student life, affordability, and more.
In addition to ranking as a top national liberal arts college, Lawrence saw a jump in the following categories:
Best Undergraduate Teaching Among National Liberal Arts Colleges: Ranked 38th, an increase of six positions from last year. This ranking speaks to the quality of Lawrence’s faculty and the relationships students build with faculty in and out of the classroom.
First-Year Experiences: Ranked 49th in the nation, an increase of five positions from last year. Lawrence first landed on this ranking a year ago. It speaks to ongoing efforts to enhance the student life experience for incoming students and the academic bonds that are built through the First-Year Studies experience.
Best Value Among National Liberal Arts Colleges: Ranked 35th, up one spot from last year. To be considered for U.S. News’ Best Value Schools listing, a school first had to be ranked in the top half of the Best Colleges in the nation. Those qualifying schools were then examined on estimated cost of attendance and available need-based financial aid.
Most International Students Among National Liberal Arts Colleges: Ranked 26th, up one spot from last year. This category measures the percentage of international students in the student body. With 12% of students international, Lawrence is tied in the ranking with Fisk University and Bard College.
Top Performers on Social Mobility: Ranked 120th. The Top Performers on Social Mobility list speaks to the success of a college advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating students who are awarded Pell Grants.
"For nearly 40 years, the Best Colleges methodology has continuously evolved to reflect changes in the higher education landscape and the interests of prospective students," said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News. "Guiding that evolution is U.S. News' mission of providing useful data and information to help with one of life's biggest decisions."
U.S. News editors say the methodology used to compile the rankings continues to be updated each year and the changes can impact rankings: “Although the methodology is the product of years of research, we continuously refine our approach based on user feedback, literature reviews, trends in our own data, and availability of new data.”
The U.S. News rankings come three weeks after Lawrence landed on The Princeton Review’s annual guide, The Best 388 Colleges for 2023. That listing highlights top colleges across the country based on data and feedback the education services company collects on topics ranging from academic offerings to financial aid to student experiences.
Earlier in August, Lawrence was featured in the 2023 edition of the annual Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 20 recommended “Best Buys” among all colleges and universities in the country, and College Raptor placed Lawrence among the 25 Best Great Lakes Colleges, part of a region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.