OBU’s “America’s Best Colleges” Streak Continues

The streak continues for OBU. For the 14th consecutive year, Oklahoma Baptist University is the state&rsquo;s highest rated baccalaureate college in the <i>U.S.News & World Report</i> annual rankings of &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Best Colleges.&rdquo; In the 2008 ratings, released this month, OBU is ranked third in the West.

In addition to the ranking for overall academic quality, OBU was the highest-ranked private institution in the magazine&rsquo;s &ldquo;Great Schools, Great Prices&rdquo; category for the western region.

OBU has made the news magazine&rsquo;s &ldquo;top 10" in its category for 16 consecutive years. In the latest rankings, the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo., is first in the 15-state region. The Master&rsquo;s College and Seminary (Calif.) is second, followed by OBU.

&ldquo;We again welcome this external affirmation,&rdquo; said OBU President Mark Brister. &ldquo;This kind of recognition is an affirmation of our faculty members, who are investing their lives in educating future leaders.&rdquo;

Several current OBU students said the university&rsquo;s long-running U.S. News recognition did make a significant difference into their college choice. However, some say the honor could be a benefit when they complete their degrees.

&ldquo;I vaguely remember reading the rankings before I came to OBU. However, at the time I had already been accepted to OBU and was planning on attending,&rdquo; said Nathalie Jarufe, a junior from Coppell, Texas. &ldquo;I do believe that this kind of recognition will help throughout my job search.&rdquo;

&ldquo;There were many factors which led me to choose OBU, but it&rsquo;s ranking as a school that will give me a good education factored into it,&rdquo; said Gina Overstake, a sophomore from Wichita, Kan. &ldquo;I will feel like I&rsquo;ve accomplished something important to graduate from OBU.&rdquo;

The 2007 rankings appear in the August 27 edition of <i>U.S.News & World Report</i>, which hit newsstands this week. The annual <i>U.S. News</i> &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Best Colleges&rdquo; guidebook was released August 20.

The only other Oklahoma institution listed in the Baccalaureate Colleges category Top 10 was Oklahoma Wesleyan University, ranked seventh. According to <i>U.S. News</i>, baccalaureate colleges are institutions which &ldquo;focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs  in the liberal arts, which account for fewer than half of their bachelor&rsquo;s degrees, and in professional fields such as business, nursing, and education.&rdquo; A total of 320 colleges are included in the baccalaureate category for four regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

The <i>U.S. News</i> rankings for baccalaureate colleges are based on six categories: peer assessment (25 percent), graduation and retention rates (25 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (15 percent), financial resources (10 percent), and alumni giving (five percent.) Among the top 10 schools in the region, OBU ranked third in average graduation rate. In the group, OBU was second to the U.S. Air Force Academy for the highest percentage of faculty members who are full-time educators. Of OBU&rsquo;s overall faculty, 87 percent are full-time while 100 percent of the USAFA faculty are full-time.

The &ldquo;Great Schools, Great Prices&rdquo; listing is derived from a formula which &ldquo;relates a school&rsquo;s academic quality, as indicated by its <i>U.S. News</i> ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.&rdquo; In the ranking, OBU is second to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

OBU consists of five academic schools  the Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, the Paul Dickinson School of Business and the School of Nursing; and the OBU International Graduate School, which offers an M.B.A. degree. OBU offers 82 undergraduate academic areas of study, with 10 bachelor&rsquo;s degree programs. Based on <i>U.S. News</i> criteria, the university has a 12-to-1 student/faculty ratio.

In addition to the <i>U.S. News</i> ranking for 2008, OBU also was one of 165 institutions listed as &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Best College Values&rdquo; for 2008 in a report released in April by The Princeton Review.