Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
U.S. News released its annual "Best Colleges" rankings last week, and Valley City State University was named the #1 Public Regional College in the Midwest for 2013. This marks the 15th consecutive year VCSU has been ranked as one of the "Best Colleges" by U.S. News in our category, and the second consecutive year that VCSU has achieved the #1 ranking.

The Midwest region in which VCSU is ranked consists of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. The colleges and universities in this category recruit most of their students from within their surrounding geographic region (hence the term "Regional College"). Additionally, our category is comprised of schools that focus primarily on undergraduate education and grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. There are a total of 99 institutions that were ranked in the Midwest Regional Colleges category, and of these, 85 are private colleges or universities while 14 are public like VCSU. Thus, when considering schools with a similar profile and mission to VCSU in our 12-state Midwest region, Valley City State University ranked #1 among the 14 public colleges and universities.

The methodology for the rankings include important benchmarks such as freshmen retention, graduation rates, average class sizes, student-to-faculty ratio, percentage of faculty who are full-time, average ACT/SAT scores, freshmen in the top 25% of their class, acceptance rate, average alumni giving rate, and peer assessment. All of these indicators are important ingredients contributing to a solid educational environment, and, when analyzed collectively, help demonstrate VCSU's overall academic excellence.

The faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters of VCSU can rightfully be proud of the new tradition that has emerged with two straight years of being ranked number one in this category. Fifteen straight years is also significant, and both milestones help illustrate the consistency and strong quality within VCSU's academic environment.

As U.S. News states, the rankings allow individuals to, "... compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention, graduation rates, and the strength of the faculty." The magazine goes on to state that if a prospective student combines, "the information in the rankings with college visits, interviews, and your own intuition, our rankings can be a powerful tool in your quest for the right college." College rankings are not the only measurements that should be used in selecting the best option for higher education, but they certainly should be part of the overall criteria used by prospective students and their families when making these important decisions.

VCSU is proud to be ranked #1 among 14 similar colleges and universities in the Midwest, and we look forward to sharing this terrific news with future students during the year ahead in our marketing and recruiting efforts. It is fantastic to start the academic year with this kind of recognition for two straight years, and we collectively look forward as a campus to a wonderful rest of the 2012-13 year at VCSU!