Mississippi College

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Mississippi College Among South’s Top 30 Regional Universities

September 12, 2012

Mississippi College students say MC’s new ranking as one of the 30 best regional universities in the South puts the Baptist-affiliated school in pretty good company.

Released Wednesday, the latest “U.S. News & World Report” ranking of the nation’s colleges and universities is an accurate assessment of a Christian university that’s seeing its solid academic reputation get even better, they say.

The magazine’s annual survey looks at such indicators as faculty/student ratio, ACT averages, the percentage of full-time faculty, graduation rates, the percentage of freshmen graduating in the top 25 percent of their high school class and alumni giving rates.

MC’s overall No. 30 ranking among the South’s regional universities is the highest in the Magnolia State, beating out such institutions as Mississippi University for Women, Delta State University, William Carey University and Belhaven University. Around the region, MC has a better ranking than schools like Marshall University in West Virginia, Western Kentucky University, Arkansas State University, Tennessee Tech, Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, Liberty University and Radford University, both in Virginia and Jacksonville University in Florida.

Students say they would favorably compare a Mississippi College education with their counterparts around the South, and elsewhere.

“My professors are very challenging – they make us think,’’ says Jennifer Truong, 21, a 2009 Northwest Rankin graduate who’s majoring in biology and plans to attend medical school. The Flowood resident looked at the statistics showing MC graduates in pre-med programs have an excellent chance of getting accepted at USA’s medical schools. Other published reports show top scores for MC medical science students ranked above the nation’s 90th percentile of all medical school students taking the same exam.

Having two uncles who graduated from Mississippi College also factored into her decision to attend school in Clinton. Truong is a native of South Vietnam who first moved to the U.S. in 1996.

Will Ratcliffe, 21, an MC sophomore from Brandon and Mississippi State University transfer, is impressed with his professors in the School of Business. “The teachers here get to know you,” he said. Learning about the Bible, and being part of a Christian university is another nice aspect of an MC education, he added.

Rankings like those appearing in “U.S. News & World Report” and “Forbes” plus other national publications play a role as students and parents weigh college choices. Costs, campus visits, recommendations from family and friends, academic strengths, and location are among other factors they consider.

Mississippi College Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris is familiar with the slew of statistics in “U.S. News & World Report” and other publications that assess hundreds of institutions around the nation. Seeing another positive evaluation of MC is not surprising, she says.

“Mississippi College has consistently performed well in this ranking as a top-tier Southern regional university,” Norris said.

MC joins other schools nationwide asked to supply “real evidence” of how they are measuring up compared to other institutions, says, Norris, the vice president of planning and assessment. “Mississippi College works diligently on these measurements. The public expects this, as do parents and potential students.”

Other administrators applaud MC’s performance in the latest “U.S. News & World Report” survey of the South’s 87 best regional universities.

“It is an affirmation of the hard work to improve MC over the last ten years,” says Jim Turcotte, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. “The hallmark of a Mississippi College education is the quality of education to the cost. That is what will sustain us as a top college.”

Turcotte predicts a rise in MC’s ranking in future years due to improvements in retention rates and academics.

“This high ranking is a real tribute to our great faculty, fabulous students and dedicated staff,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Howard.

With its reputation growing regionally and nationally, enrollment has climbed in recent years. MC’s 5,145 students this fall represent a 60 percent increase from ten years ago when President Lee Royce arrived as the school’s leader in 2002. Back then, there were 3,300 students enrolled.

An MC construction renaissance includes major projects such as a new science building, three-story parking garage, and new bookstore in the heart of Olde Towne. All of the projects are designed to keep pace with the university’s growth.

Students like sophomore Griffin Metcalf, 19, a member of the Choctaws track team, say an MC education is well worth it. “I chose Mississippi College due to its pre-med program,” said the Anguilla, Mississippi resident.

A chemistry major, Caleb Dickerson, 18, of Southaven, considered Ole Miss and the University of Memphis, but the freshman is glad he chose Mississippi College because of its Christian environment, top-notch academics and smaller classes. “Everyone here is so friendly,” he said. “I love MC.”

For more information on the “U.S. News & World Report” rankings, visit www.usnews.com.

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