By Jordan Gershman ’19
Trinity has received national recognition following significant changes implemented in several aspects of campus life over recent years.
In the most recent edition of U.S. News and World’s “Best Colleges” report, Trinity has risen within the rankings. The College is now ranked number 38, tied with Skidmore and Union Colleges in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category, which U.S. News and World defines as schools which “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.”
Trinity is ranked as number 33 in the category of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges, a ranking determined by a combination of academic prestige and the cost of attendance for students receiving the average amount of need-based financial aid. The Best Value category is exclusive to colleges listed in the top fifty percent of their distinct categories, as U.S. News and World “considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.”
Factors such as graduation rate performance, student selectivity, financial aid, faculty resources, and overall reputation are just a few features that are considered by U.S. News and World when determining a school’s final ranking.
Twelve percent of schools saw a change in ranking due to alterations to the Carnegie Classification system. As reported by U.S. News and World: “In February, 2016, Carnegie, which is the most widely accepted classification system in U.S. higher education, released official updates – called the “2015 Update” – including to the Basic Classification used in the U.S. News rankings.
The Carnegie classification, which higher education researchers use extensively, has been the basis of the Best Colleges ranking category system since the publication of the first rankings in 1983.”
In addition to the rankings, U.S. News and World also allows colleges to provide an overview of their mission and unique qualities. Trinity’s description highlights many aspects of campus life, including specialized academic programs, study abroad opportunities, and outstanding athletic teams, as well as remarkable faculty, referred to as “a devoted and accomplished group of exceptional teacher-scholars.”
The introduction highlights the diverse student body as one of the primary characteristics distinguishing Trinity from similar liberal arts schools. Additionally cited were strengthened ties to the city of Hartford, which is described as an “educational asset,” providing, “unparalleled real-world learning experiences to complement classroom learning.”
The overview also mentions the decision to transition to SAT/ACT optional applications. This change, which was implemented last fall, emphasizes the evaluation of less tangible characteristics and qualities in prospective students, regardless of test scores.
This year’s ranking, in which Trinity has increased a total of seven positions in the past two years, represents the consistent commitment and dedication of students, staff, and faculty to enhancing the overall quality of Trinity College. Since her inauguration, President Berger-Sweeney has charged the campus community with the task of reversing declining ratings, and improving local and national reputation. Based on indications from U.S. News and World, Trinity’s collective efforts have not gone unnoticed or unrewarded.
In response to these recent accolades, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney has expressed her gratitude to all members of the campus community whose efforts have effected this change: “While I am a firm believer that college rankings provide only a small slice of information about an institution – and sometimes skewed information at that – I am pleased that our rank on the U.S. News list of ‘Best National Liberal Arts Colleges’ has improved to number 38. As I have noted before, a college’s score in the U.S. News rankings is made up of such disparate elements as faculty salaries, the giving rate of alumni, the standardized test scores of incoming first-year students, and a college’s reputation, to name but a few. I believe that Trinity’s rise in the rankings is a testament to the work of so many faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the College who are devoted to helping Trinity reach its full potential.”
By Jordan Gershman ’19