Middlebury College welcomes new students, high ranking

MIDDLEBURY — As the members of the Middlebury College class of 2017 began their collegiate careers Monday, the first day of the fall semester, the college was also welcoming news this week that it got high marks of its own in a prestigious college ranking.
The new undergraduate class of 629 students was chosen from 9,100 applicants, the largest applicant pool in school history. Approximately 90 more students will enroll in February to join the first-year class. The addition of these students brings the total in the undergraduate body to 2,495.
Students in the incoming class hail from 43 states, the District of Columbia, and 43 foreign countries. The foreign countries most represented in the entire student body are China, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and South Korea. The most represented states are New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and Vermont.
In the new class, 26 percent are students of color, 13 percent are first-generation college students and 11 percent are from foreign countries.
The college will offer 67 new classes this year, covering a variety of topics such as Holocaust in Literature, Introduction to Literature and Mathematics for Teachers and Children of the Russian Revolution.
Middlebury is also introducing a conservation psychology focus in the Environmental Studies Program, and a museum studies focus in the Department of History of Art and Architecture.
There’s another reason for excitement on campus — U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings rated Middlebury College the fourth best liberal arts institution in the country. Middlebury tied with Bowdoin College in Maine and Pomona College in California. Topping the list were Williams College and Amherst College, both in Massachusetts, and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Middlebury was given the same rank last year. In its research, U.S. News and World Report looked at an institution’s acceptance rate, average freshman retention rate and six-year graduation rate, among a host of other criteria. Middlebury accepted 17.2 percent of applicants in 2012, and 94 percent of its undergraduates complete their degrees within six years.
Of the schools ranked in the top 10, Middlebury has the largest student body.
“We’re, of course, pleased whenever others recognize the work we do, but it’s important to remember that rankings such as this are only one element in the college selection process,” said Sarah Ray, a spokesperson for the college.
“Middlebury encourages prospective students to look beyond the numbers and to do some exploration as well,” Ray continued.
U.S. News and World Report also ranked Middlebury 16th on its list of best value liberal arts colleges, between Macalester College in Minnesota and Hamilton College in New York.
That list is determined by an institution’s academic quality, as well as the cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. At Middlebury College, 39 percent of students receive need-based financial aid. The average cost of tuition and fees after this aid is $21,655.
Tuition and fees at Middlebury for the 2013-14 academic year total $45,314. The comprehensive fee, which the college calculates as the sum of tuition, room and board is $57,075. This is an increase of 2.7 percent from last year, when the comprehensive fee was $55,570.

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