The Princeton Review also recently recognized Lyon as a "Best Southeastern College" in its annual report for the eighth consecutive year and Lyon is included in Forbes.com's "America's Best Colleges" ranking. In August, Washington Monthly magazine's annual College Guide named Lyon to its list of the nation's most socially beneficial liberal arts colleges."
"I am pleased that Lyon is consistently ranked among the best colleges in America," said Dr. Donald Weatherman, president of Lyon. "All of the rating organizations use a different method for evaluating colleges, but Lyon is always among the best by every standard. This is a real tribute to the faculty and staff who have dedicated their careers to the highest level of education."
U.S. News categorizes the 1,378 ranked colleges by mission and -- for regional institutions -- by region. According to U.S. News, the 252 national liberal arts colleges "emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the arts and sciences." In Arkansas, only Lyon and Hendrix College are included in this category.
U.S. News also ranks national universities, which offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and Ph.D. degrees, and emphasize faculty research; regional universities, which offer undergraduate degrees and some master's programs but few, if any, doctoral programs; and regional colleges, which focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than 50 percent of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. These last two categories are further classified by geographicregion.
For many years, Lyon College was included among the best regional liberal arts colleges in the South, often first or second. It was reclassified to national liberal arts college status from its regional liberal arts college category in 2000. Lyon entered the top tier of national liberal arts colleges for the first time in 2007.
Among the factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality for national universities and national liberals arts colleges are: undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, high school counselor ratings, and graduation rate performance.
The opinions of high school counselors were factored into the ranking calculations for national universities and national liberal arts colleges for the second year. The data collected from the survey of counselors was combined with that obtained from a survey of college presidents, provosts and deans to calculate the "undergraduate academic reputation index," which replaced the "peer assessment" factor used in previous years.
The 2012 edition of the guidebook is on sale now. The rankings are posted on www.usnews.com/colleges.