Maintaining a longstanding tradition of academic excellence and value, Ouachita Baptist University continues to be ranked among the top universities in the nation by Forbes magazine, U.S. News & World Report and USAToday/CollegeFactual.com.
This year’s rankings mark the eighth consecutive year that Ouachita has been named among “America’s Top Colleges” by Forbes. It also is the sixth year in a row that Ouachita has been named among U.S. News & World Report’s top tier of “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.”
Ouachita also has earned several top tier rankings from USAToday/CollegeFactual.com, including being ranked in the top 5 percent nationally among colleges cited as “Best for the Money.”
“We are thankful that Ouachita is recognized both by professional peers and national media for our commitment to academic excellence and outstanding value for our students and their families,” said Ouachita President Ben Sells. “Ouachita’s consistent rankings among the nation’s top schools is a testimony to the dedication of our faculty, staff, trustees and students.
“As we seek to dream a larger dream for Ouachita, we invite prospective students to consider the many benefits of gaining an outstanding liberal arts education in Ouachita’s Christ-centered learning community,” he added. “We continue to enhance the value of a Ouachita education through new merit scholarship levels and other initiatives designed to benefit students and families.”
In this year’s USA Today and CollegeFactual.com rankings, Ouachita is in the top 5 percent among best universities for the money both nationally and in the Southeast. It also is ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for its biology and music programs and in the top 10 percent nationally for its biomedical sciences, communications and communication sciences programs as well as its NCAA Division II football and men’s basketball programs. Ouachita programs ranked in the top 15 percent nationally include dietetics, history, theatre arts and wrestling.
“Ouachita’s commitment both to established and expanded academic opportunities is designed to benefit current and future students as we seek to maintain excellence while responding to growing needs and interests,” Dr. Sells noted. “Our goal is to equip our students to make a long-term impact in their churches, communities and careers.”
Ouachita offers majors in seven academic schools in the disciplines of business, Christian studies, education, fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.
New degree programs this fall include majors in biophysics and physics/mathematics in the Patterson School of Natural Sciences, finance in the Hickingbotham School of Business, music business (now music industry) in the School of Fine Arts and public history and social justice studies in the Sutton School of Social Sciences. Other recent academic additions include the accelerated three-year Biomedical Scholars Program and Ouachita Online, which offers accredited baccalaureate degrees online with majors in business administration and Christian studies.
U.S. News also ranked Ouachita among “A+ Schools for B Students” for the sixth consecutive year – the only national liberal arts college in the state to make the list. According to U.S. News, the A+ ranking features universities where B-level incoming students “have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving – where spirit and hard work could make all the difference.”
Ouachita, which moved into U.S. News’ national rankings in 2011, previously was ranked for four years as the No. 1 Regional College in the South. Among this year’s best national liberal arts colleges, Ouachita and Hendrix College are the only two schools in Arkansas ranked by U.S. News in the top tier.
According to U.S. News, national liberal arts colleges “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the arts and sciences, which include such disciplines as English, the biological and physical sciences, history, foreign languages and the visual and performing arts.”
According to Forbes, its focus on universities’ output over input sets its annual rankings apart from other evaluations. “We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college,” Forbes explained. “Our sights are set directly on return on investment: What are students getting out of college?”
In another significant milestone, Ouachita ranked No. 1 nationally in Forbes’ third annual #MyTopCollege social media campaign, marking OBU’s third consecutive Top 10 finish in the national competition. The campaign, which includes colleges and universities of all sizes throughout the nation, involved students, faculty and alumni posting on social media about what makes their university special.
Ouachita Baptist University, a private liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, Ark., is in its 131st year as a Christ-centered learning community. For more information, call 1-800-DIAL-OBU or visit www.obu.edu.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU vice president for communications
September 15, 2016