Rankings highlight UMW academics, community strengths and more
By Amy Jesse, UMW
Washington Monthly, known for guiding students and families toward institutions that contribute to the common good, included Mary Washington in rankings released this month, September 2023. UMW ranks 78th of 199 institutions in the Best Liberal Arts Colleges listing, which rates schools on contributions to social mobility, research and providing opportunities for public service.
And Mary Washington ranks in the top 100 in the region-by-region Best Bang for the Buck category, which considers how well institutions help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.
As Washington Monthly Editor Rob Wolfe explained, the publication recognizes institutions “that welcome students from everyday and low-income backgrounds and help them to graduate on time, with good jobs and low debt.” Further, the publication considers “the generosity of alumni toward their community: How many join the Peace Corps and the military, or pursue careers as social workers or teachers?”
Those are all worthy endeavors for UMW grads, as about 3% of the most recent class went into military service, while just under 25% pursue graduate school and more than 65% go straight into their careers.
The Princeton Review, nationally regarded for helping aspiring college students and their parents find the right collegiate fit, has included UMW among The Best 389 Colleges – 2024 Edition. It’s a selective listing; The Princeton Review features only about 15% of America’s four-year colleges.
UMW made The Princeton Review’s list of 100 schools named best in the Mid-Atlantic region. And UMW Theatre got a shout-out, with Mary Washington among only 25 schools nationwide to be included in the Best College Theatre listing.
Details in the publication come straight from current students via anonymous surveys. They note that Mary Washington has “strong school spirit and sense of community,” and “everyone is kind and friendly and willing to go out of their way for a stranger.”
The Princeton Review says: “Students add that they feel they ‘can form strong relationships with each other and professors.’ It goes both ways, too: enrollees emphasize how teachers ‘make every effort possible to have one-on-one time with every single student’ and ‘reach out to individuals with opportunities as well as to check on them.’”
Even as undergraduates, students find, “I am able to participate in graduate-level research and projects in my majors,” while faculty “devote plenty of class time to discussions around real topics and situations to help ensure we come out prepared.” Plus, students note they balance studying with fun events, as well as the draw of downtown Fredericksburg. The publication concludes, “At the end of the day, ‘spending time with friends or diving into community events are the most popular ways to have fun.’ ”
Niche noticed the location too. Fredericksburg makes the grade in this online ranking, coming in at No. 4 for Best College Locations in Virginia. The University of Mary Washington also makes the top 10 among public colleges and universities in Virginia, based on statistical data and student reviews.
College Raptor, another search site aimed at helping families find their college match, touts UMW as a “hidden gem” in the southeast and among D3 schools.