Welcome to the Washington Monthly’s annual College Guide and Rankings, where we rate schools based on what they do for the country. It’s our answer to U.S. News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige.
We rank four-year schools (national universities, liberal arts colleges, baccalaureate colleges, and master’s universities) based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service. We also rank the Best Colleges for Vocational Certificates, the Best Colleges for Adult Learners, and the Best Bang for the Buck colleges, which help non-wealthy students obtain marketable degrees at affordable prices. Click here to read our 2018 College Guide magazine issue.
Institutions that award a significant number of doctoral degrees.
Baccalaureate colleges that focus on arts and sciences rather than professional programs.
Institutions that award a significant number of master’s degrees but few or no doctoral degrees.
Institutions that award almost exclusively bachelor’s degrees.
Best Bang for the Buck Colleges
The schools where students of modest means get the most for their money.
Best Colleges for Adult Learners
A third of undergrads are 25 and older. These are the schools that cater to them.
Institutions that award mostly bachelor’s degrees.
Institutions that award mostly associate’s degrees or certificates.
Best Colleges for Vocational Certificates
Find out which certificate programs will increase your earning potential—and which won’t.
For even more information, be sure to check out our books, The Other College Guide and Never Too Late: The Adult Student’s Guide to College.