Rankings and Polls

College rankings can provide useful information when used as a guide to finding 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. But please ask our Admission counselors if you have a question about a ranking or information.

Colleges That Change Lives

Ursinus is among 40 “Colleges that Change Lives,” in which colleges are cited for their ability to help 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 declares that what 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. 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

Ursinus is  once again listed as one of the nation’s six “Up and Coming” colleges among national liberal arts schools. This designation reflects colleges that have made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has included Ursinus on its list of the country’s best values in private colleges. Kiplinger’s annual list provides best values in public and private universities and private liberal arts colleges. The 2015 lists represent the colleges that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost. The colleges, according to Kiplinger, “exemplify the attributes parents and students look for in higher education, including small class sizes, a good freshman retention rate and a high four-year graduation rate.”

Washington Monthly

Ursinus is included in the Washington Monthly special list of colleges which offer the Best Bang for the Buck. Ursinus is 51st out of 67 liberal arts schools which made this list. In addition to the magazine’s ranking of public good-based institutions, the “Bang for the Buck” list is based on economic value students receive per dollar

Ursinus is 139 out of 246 selected liberal arts colleges in the Washington Monthly rankings–it is 54th in the category “Service staff, courses and financial aid support,” and 83rdin “Community service participation and hours served.” The magazine states about its rankings:  “We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).”

Fiske Guide to Colleges

The Fiske 2016 guide notes Ursinus’s “attention from faculty.” “At Ursinus you can truly make a name for yourself,” a sophomore says. The Fiske Guide notes that “professors draw praise for their skills in the classroom.” ”Ursinus is on the rise,” it says. “Ursinus allows students to be themselves and appreciates them for their uniqueness and diversity of passions and interests.”

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review cites Ursinus as one of the country’s best colleges for undergraduate education, for its academic rigor and campus culture, in its 2015 edition of “The Best 379 Colleges.” Only 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges are profiled in the guide. Based on student response, the Princeton Review describes Ursinus as a “close-knit college community” which “offers an exceptional academic record.” It notes accessible professors and a focus on community service.

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 ranks 175 out of 660 colleges and universities on the Forbes Top Colleges list based on “return on investment.” The methodology uses five categories: post-graduate success; student debt; student satisfaction; graduation rate and academic success. According to Forbes, the list is based on “What are students getting out of college?” - not on how they can get in. 

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. The categories are: post graduate success, student debt, student satisfaction, graduation rate, and academic success.

Ursinus is also on the Forbes list of “grateful grads.” It is listed at 111, 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.