U.S. News & World Report 2017 Best Colleges rankings recently recognized Covenant College as a top-tier national liberal arts college. Covenant is one of the five Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) on this list as a top-tier national liberal college.
It is notable for Covenant to achieve the national level because most Christian colleges are ranked regionally by U.S. News. Covenant was formerly ranked among the top eleven regional colleges in the South, but is now ranked 159 in the nation. With 46 states represented within Covenant’s student body, it seems appropriate for the College to receive attention in a national category.
“There is a sense that [the rating] more accurately reflects who we are,” commented Dr. Hall, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “If you look at the colleges in our tier, tier one, they are colleges we’d be pleased to be associated with in terms of reputation and perceived academic rigor,” explained Dr. Hall.
According to usnews.com, rankings are awarded to liberal arts institutions when they “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study. U.S. News & World lists are compiled based upon reputation and inputs. Speaking generally for the college,” Dr. Hall said, “We’d rather be ranked on outputs, in terms of the caliber of students that graduate from here, connectedness with churches as they continue on in life, their general achievements—those who go to graduate school, and folks that are very happy with their education.”
Data can’t speak for the college experience of campus environment and community, but U.S. News Best Colleges provides a starting point for the college-seeking student. According to usnews.com, factors included in deciding the Best Rankings include graduation and retention rates, undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity (admissions test scores, acceptance rate), and financial resources, just to name a few.
The new recognition is exciting for the college because it represents the hard work of students, faculty, and staff, but the heart of Covenant remains the same. “Certainly, we tell folks of our ranking,” said Dr. Hall, “but it really isn’t the central part of our mission or our message that goes out.” Although grateful for the ranking and shift in category, Dr. Hall stressed that Covenant College’s ultimate mission for its student body and faculty remains for Christ to be preeminent in all things and to serve faithfully in their academics, jobs, and church.