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Aren't We #1?

Twelve times Berea College has earned a number one regional ranking in U.S.News & World Report's annual college survey. This year's ranking of 75th nationally should not be perceived as a drop in rankings. Here's why.

Rest assured that Berea College has not lost its values or taken a nose-dive in academics, but has rather been shifted into a new category in the ranking system. The Carnegie Classifications, which U.S. News uses to categorize schools, changes from time to time, resulting in the placement of schools in different categories than in those they've been in years past. Berea College is no exception, having spent time classified as a "Comprehensive College" and "Liberal Arts College." Traditionally, our school has been grouped regionally, and as the school has a mission to serve primarily the Appalachian region, we've held the number one ranking in the South.

The Carnegie Classifications, however, have opted to omit the regional categories. Herein lies the reason for a number 75 national ranking as opposed to a number 1 regional ranking. Because of this switch, Berea College is now competing in the national liberal arts section of the rankings with other colleges who serve a broader area of communities, while Berea remains centralized to the Appalachian area. Even with our limited scope, we have still placed within the top 100 schools.

"The good news is that even in this new national category, with literally hundreds more schools 'competing' for rankings, we fared very well," says Tim Jordan, director of public relations. Berea shares a five-way tie with other notable schools including Austin College (TX), Birmingham-Southern College (AL), Spelman College (GA), and St. John's University (MN).

Around campus, everything is business as usual with the intense academic program offered to students, Berea's commitment to sustainability and their recent mention in Sierra Magazine , and the Convocation Program recently recognized by USA Today .

There is no doubt that Berea College will continue to excel at serving students from Appalachia with the help of the community and benefactors of the college. In a world where everything changes, including the Carnegie Classifications, our rankings in various polls and studies will fluctuate with the times; but Berea will continue to be Berea, an institution dedicated to learning, labor and service.

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