A record number of admission applications for the 2011-2012 academic year indicates that Austin College’s programs and offerings are appealing to prospective students and parents. This fall, a number of college guides and rankings conveyed similar confirmation.
Austin College was named in The Princeton Review’s The Best 376 Colleges (there are 4,000 in the U.S. so that means the top 10 percent); the 2012 Fiske Guide to Colleges named the College a “Best Buy” (moderate price and outstanding academics); Forbes Magazine listed Austin College in America’s Top Colleges;” and U.S. News & World Report included Austin College at #64 among National Liberal Arts Colleges and as a Best Value School (based on academic quality and net cost for students who receive financial aid); and The Princeton Review also listed the College at #15 for Professors Get High Marks, #14 in Most Popular Study Abroad Program, and #13 for Easiest Campus to Get Around.
President Marjorie Hass will be quick to tell you that she does not judge the College’s programs by those lists and rankings—the administration has set its own quality assessments—but the accolades are nice. “Austin College has a long history of excellence,” she said. “While we don’t measure our success by external rankings, we do appreciate the affirmation of our hard work in providing an outstanding education for our students. Through a liberal arts education, our students hone their communication skills across cultural, professional, intellectual, and experiential opportunities.”
President Hass said that the College’s emphasis on international learning opportunities—with more than 70 percent of graduates having had at least one international study experience during college—gives graduates an advantage in the global neighborhood. Students, she said, also perform service locally and around the world, and the majority of students complete at least one workplace internship. “Our students are adventurous learners, with hands-on experience in a variety of areas that develop skills in critical thinking and analysis while learning to navigate in a complex society.”
Dr. Hass, too, recognizes that students and parents are making college decisions in uncertain times, times that have led some colleges to cut programs and opportunities. While Austin College administrators have been very focused on balanced budget operations, she said, all academic and experiential opportunities for students continued. “It is particularly meaningful to me that the academic strength and quality of our education has not diminished during these challenging times.”