Rankings and Polls

College rankings and guidebooks can provide useful information in helping to find the school which is the best fit for each student.

Rankings and guidebooks are based both on hard data, and on opinion. Ursinus is transparent about the information published about us. Please ask our Admission counselors if you have a question about a ranking, or information contianed in a guidebook.

Colleges That Change Lives

Ursinus is among 40 Colleges that Change Lives, in which colleges are cited for their ability to help their students succeed. Originally written by the late Loren Pope, the book is now revised by Hilary Masell Oswald.

“Ursinus is a star of the first magnitude in the small galaxy of colleges that change lives,” the book says. “Each student has his or her own tale of transformation.”

The book notes a growth in students’ skills and self-confidence during their four years at Ursinus, and describes “how their aspirations rise, and how their perspectives broaden.” It praises Ursinus professors: “The dedication to teaching is legendary.” It states that Ursinus students have in common, “civility, character, and an eagerness to learn.”

The New York Times

Ursinus is among the top 100 schools in the most recent New York Times rankings project based on commitment to access (2015). The College Access Index ranks Ursinus #93 among colleges cited for economic diversity, based on the share of students who receive Pell grants (which typically go to families making less than $70,000); the graduation rate of those students; and the price that colleges charge both low- and middle-income students. Colleges with a five-year graduation rate of 75 percent or higher are included. 

Unveiling the new ranking in 2014, the Times stated that “over the last decade, dozens of colleges have proclaimed that recruiting a more economically diverse student body was a top priority. Many of those colleges have not matched their words with actions. But some have.”

U.S. News Best Colleges

U.S. News named Ursinus to its top 100 of 179 top tier colleges, tied for #95 with three colleges. Ursinus is also included in a special category, “A-plus Schools for B Students,” a list of options for students who don’t have straight-A grades but want to go to an academically reputable institution. Ursinus is 32nd in this list. Ursinus ranked higher in the categories of smaller class size than did many of the top liberal arts schools. 

Washington Monthly

Ursinus has been named one of the top 100 schools in the newest Washington Monthly 2016 rankings of national liberal arts colleges. Ursinus is ranked 56 out of 239 for its commitment to access and encouraging students to give back. The Washington Monthly ranking is based on colleges and universities “contributing to the public good,” focusing on three main categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), producing research, and promoting public service. Ursinus rose from its 124th spot last year. It is also 120th in a Best Bang for Your Buck list, up from 159 in 2015.

Fiske Guide to Colleges

The Fiske 2017 guide notes Ursinus’s “attention from faculty.” “At Ursinus you can truly make a name for yourself,” a student says. The Fiske Guide notes that “professors draw praise for their skills in the classroom.” “The special thing about Ursinus is the people,” a student is quoted. “Everyone – the students, professors and staff – is so friendly and open and just wants you to succeed.” “Ursinus allows students to be themselves and appreciates them for their uniqueness and diversity of passions and interests.” The Center for Science and the Common Good, the Independent Learning Experience and Common Intellectual Experiences are noted as hallmarks of the Ursinus experience. ”Ursinus is on the rise,” it says.

The Princeton Review

Ursinus is among the 381 best colleges in the nation, according to The Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of The Best 381 Colleges. Ursinus is also deemed one of the best Northeastern colleges. Information in the most recent edition is based both on a statistical survey and student comments. 

Ursinus gets good marks for “professors accessible” (91 percent) and “professors interesting” (88 percent). The “quality of life rating” is a competitive 89. The book calls Ursinus a “small, close-knit college community,” which offers an “exceptional academic record.” It notes that “this is a ‘campus filled with motivated students and professors who work toward every student’s success’ … The college is known for “fostering leadership, community and personal growth.” Students say, “there is always something happening on campus.”

The Yale Daily News Guide

The Yale editors say that Ursinus is “known for the close relationships between faculty and students,” developed from the first days of The Common Intellectual Experience, the required freshman course. “This liberal studies seminar epitomizes the value that the staff at Ursinus puts on the development of conversational skills and well-roundedness of its students.”


Ursinus is a Top College, ranking 75 out of 660 colleges and universities on the Forbes list. According to Forbes, the list is based on “What are students getting out of college?” - not on how they can get in.The methodology cites five categories: post-graduate success; student debt; student satisfaction; graduation rate and academic success. 

Ursinus also ranks:

– 133 in private colleges;

 – 83 in liberal arts colleges and universities;

 – 78 in the Northeast

Forbes partners with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, with information directly from the Department of Education, Payscale, and the America’s Leaders list. 

Ursinus is also on the Forbes list of “grateful grads.” It is listed at 107, out of only 200 colleges nationally which made this list. “The best colleges produce crop after crop of successful graduates that show their appreciation by giving back in the form of donations to their beloved alma mater,” according to Forbes. Its Grateful Graduates Index ranks private, not-for-profit colleges with more than 1,000 students by analyzing private donations and gifts per student over 10 years, as reported to the Department of Education, and the alumni participation rate. 

Wall Street Journal 

A new Wall Street Journal/Times higher education college ranking lists Ursinus #174 of all colleges and universities in the United States for such measures as student experiences and alumni success.

This new ranking takes into account 15 performance indicators including resources, academic reputation, likelihood of being engaged by classmates and teachers, campus community and probability of paying off loans and getting a job.

Data comes from a variety of sources: from the U.S. government (IPEDs, College Scorecard and BEA), from The U.S. Student Survey, the Academic Survey, and from the Elsevier bibliometric dataset. More information on the methodology is here.

Ursinus’s score is high in the “engagement” category, 15.8 out of a possible 20.  Most of the data in this area is gathered through The U.S. Student Survey which is carried out by Times Higher Education, based in the United Kingdom.