Mississippi College Gains in “U.S. News & World Report” Rankings
September 18, 2013
Mississippi College advanced a few notches in the latest “U.S. News & World Report” survey to earn a ranking of 27th among the best regional universities in the South.
The ranking for the Baptist-affiliated institution in the magazine’s fall college guide released in September places MC in a tie with Campbell University of North Carolina. Last fall, MC was in 30th place in “U.S. News & World Report” in the same category.
Mississippi College tops such Southern regional institutions as Radford University in Virginia, Tennessee Tech, Western Kentucky, Marshall University in West Virginia and Western Carolina.
An MC senior, Dakota Bibbs, 21, of Southaven, consulted guides like “U.S. News & World Report” before deciding to come to the Christian university with more than 5,000 students. “That was one of the deciding factors,” he said.
Now that he’s been on the Clinton campus for a couple of years, “I’d give them (MC) the highest ranking. MC is my home. I’m impressed by the campus. It is such a family atmosphere,” said Bibbs, a psychology major.
The “U.S. News & World Report” survey of schools nationwide, including Princeton in New Jersey and Williams in Massachusetts, both tied for No. 1, evaluates a slew of statistics. It’s everything from high school averages of students on campus, ACT scores, faculty/student ratios, college costs, and graduation rates, among other things.
“We are pleased to be included in the rankings again this year and continue to see our rankings improve,” said Jim Turcotte, MC vice president for enrollment services and dean of students. “Students and parents do pay some attention to the rankings, particularly those who live great distances from campus.”
MC student Dylan Crouch, 18, was among the 615 new freshmen coming to Mississippi College this fall, a new school record. “It’s a good distance away from home. I like the environment, and it’s friendly,” the kinesiology major said of his experience on the Clinton campus since late August.
Dylan doesn’t need to go very far to see some familiar faces in Clinton. He’s among 11 former students at the Southern Baptist Education Center in Southaven enrolling at Mississippi College this fall.
Speaking to hundreds of prospective students and parents at Preview Day on September 14th, President Lee Royce mentioned affordability, academic reputation and environment as key factors attracting newcomers to MC.
An outstanding education at Mississippi College helped send 132 recent graduates to medical and dental schools this fall, Royce told the audience at Swor Auditorium.
Seeing MC successes confirmed by national publications like “U.S. News & World Report” is something that administrators like to point out to future students.
“College administrators and parents of prospective students do review these rankings,” says Mark Hughes, dean of enrollment services. “We have been intentional about improving the quality measures these type of rankings value.”
This fall, “our faculty student ratios are low (class size), our ACT average of slightly over 24 is excellent for most Christian colleges, our retention, graduation and study abroad opportunities are improving,” Hughes said. “We invest in scholarly activity for our faculty.”
Mississippi College, he said, is “intentional about offering this increased quality at an affordable net price, while lifting up the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Whether they’re coming from China, the Midwest or the South, students give high grades to MC.
“I love the classes and the teachers seem to care,” said freshman Maggie Waters, 18, of Ohio, a new member of the university’s equestrian team.
Other students say they are delighted with September’s news that Mississippi College’s 16 NCAA sports in 2014-15 will rejoin the Birmingham-based Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II. Presently, the MC Choctaws are NCAA Division III members in the Texas-based American Southwest Conference.
Photo: More than 5,000 students attend Mississippi College that's listed 27th among the South's best regional universities in this fall's "U.S. News & World Report'' guide to USA higher education institutions.