Sweet Briar makes Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges list for 2019

Posted on August 15, 2019 by Janika Carey

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Just days after winning Forbes’ #MyTopCollege contest in the small-schools category, Sweet Briar has another reason to celebrate. The women’s liberal arts college is included on Forbes’ 2019 America’s Top Colleges list, which features the country’s 650 institutions that deliver the “top academics, best experiences, career success and lowest debt.”

Sweet Briar came in at No. 608 among all institutions, at No. 383 among “Private Colleges,” No. 199 among “Liberal Arts Universities” and No. 146 in the “South” category.

“We include just 15% of the 4,300 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S., so appearing here at all is an indication that a school meets a high standard,” Forbes editors note.

According to Forbes’ methodology, the Top Colleges ranking — now in its 12th year — has always focused on the direct benefits a college or university provides its students. The rankings are based on six general categories:

  • Alumni Salary (20%), a combination of early and midcareer salaries as reported by the federal College Scorecard and PayScale data and research;

  • Student Satisfaction (20%), which includes results from Niche surveys on professor quality and data, and freshman retention rates from the federal IPEDS website;

  • Debt (20%), which rewards schools for low student debt loads and default rates;

  • American Leaders (15%), which is based on Forbes’ database of successful people;

  • On-Time Graduation Rate (12.5%), which accounts for both four- and six-year rates; and

  • Academic Success (12.5%), which rewards schools whose alumni win prestigious scholarships and fellowships or have earned Ph.Ds.

Sweet Briar’s inclusion on the list comes on the heels of The Princeton Review celebrating the school as a Best Southeastern college and Kiplinger naming it a best-value college. Last year, U.S. News & World Report recognized Sweet Briar among the Most Innovative Schools in the nation.

While Sweet Briar’s academics, including a modern leadership core curriculum, and its affordability have received heightened attention lately, there is one aspect that has remained constant: With 3,250 acres, Sweet Briar is the fourth-largest campus among liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and it consistently ranks among the most beautiful. It’s certainly true that nothing can replace a personal visit, but prospective students are encouraged to check out the College’s virtual campus tour for a sneak peek.