The U.S. News & World Report recently released their 2022–23 Best Liberal Arts College rankings — and Middlebury College was no longer in the top 10. The college now shares the number 11 spot with Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.
U.S. News bases their rankings on 17 factors, including social mobility, undergraduate academic ranking, financial resources and standardized testing. The report uses quantifiable admissions data and does not consider athletic or social life when determining the rankings.
Admissions officers are also aware of the role college rankings play in the application process for high school students.
Dean of Admissions Nicole Curvin said that interest in Middlebury has grown significantly in the last five years and remains exceptionally high.
“Middlebury has had a record number of applications and our applicant pool has increased by 39% in the past two years, while getting admitted to Middlebury has become a more selective process — we reached a low of 15% for the Class of 2026,” Curvin said.
“Although rankings are just one measure, each publication or organization that ranks colleges has its own method of assessing value,” said Sarah Ray, director of media relations. “Our priority is to fulfill our academic mission — to prepare students to lead engaged, consequential and creative lives, contribute to their communities, and address the world’s most challenging problems.”
Ivan Valerio ’26 did not consider Middlebury’s ranking when applying in high school, but rather the liberal arts qualities that Middlebury could offer, such as small class sizes and course opportunities that would not have been available elsewhere.
“It is just a number based on an arbitrary system in which most people don’t actually understand how it works,” Valerio said. “The number itself doesn’t matter as much, and I honestly don’t care that our school dropped a bit, my love for the school is only rising in time, and I would still apply again if I could.”
Natalie Penna ’24 shared similar sentiments.
“Rankings don’t matter to me at all. Middlebury’s still a renowned school despite its fall in rankings, and nothing has changed in the school to make it go down. Overall, my experience at Midd has not changed for the worse in the time I’ve been here,” she said.
Some students believe that schools are completely unrankable.
“On what basis can you actually rank a college? Columbia University was ranked number two last year in top universities, and dropped to 18 because they found discrepancies in their data. How can that even happen with any level of accuracy?” Liam Morris ’26 said. “Everybody has their own experiences at different institutions. You can’t rank my experience and compare it to someone else’s.”