Best College Reviews ranked Hillsdale College as number one out of all the colleges that they ranked. Courtesy.

Hillsdale College was named one of the best small colleges in the United States earlier this month.

In a new ranking from Best College Reviews, an independent college review journal,  Hillsdale College topped a list of 50 small liberal-arts schools. Best College Reviews cited the quality of the student body and academics as a deciding factor.

“Of the hundreds of schools that were evaluated, Hillsdale placed at the top of the list of Top 50 Small Colleges, because it not only met but exceeded the criteria,” Best College Review Editor Julia McCaulley said in an email. “From the quality and value of the education to its amazing campus atmosphere to its rich and progressive history, Hillsdale really is a fantastic place for students seeking an education that will lead them to a bright future.”

In a news release from  Best College Reviews, the organization’s criteria favored institutions with 500-2,000 undergraduate students, the availability of campus housing, the graduate degrees offered, a graduate rate greater than 50 percent, a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 or less, a 74 percent or higher retention rate, and tuition costs no more than $30,000.

“Retention is an incredible 96 percent, and graduates are known to be articulate and successful people,” the Best College Review said. “The Hillsdale College motto, ‘Strength rejoices in the challenge,’ is fitting indeed. There is no doubt that the excellence of a Hillsdale education places it at the top of the list as the best small college in the nation.”

Other schools on the list included nearby Andrews University in Battle Creek, Michigan, and Bethel College in Indiana.

Although College President Larry Arnn said he was not familiar with most of the schools on the list, he said he was satisfied to see Hillsdale in the No. 1 spot.

“I do not know enough about nearly all of them to judge in detail,” Arnn said, “but I think we are one of the best, and I think we have certain qualities to a superior degree.”

Best College Reviews stated it was “started with the explicit goal of competing with U.S. News & World Report as an authoritative, objective, and editorially independent college review journal,” according to its website.

Hillsdale College has consistently placed on U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best College Rankings. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Hillsdale as the 83rd best liberal-arts college in the nation.

Senior Director of Admissions Zack Miller said he was humbled by Best College Review’s ranking and that the honor is the result of a team effort across campus.

“When Hillsdale’s name appears in national rankings like this, it’s really a testament to many things — the students, the faculty, the staff, the curriculum, and so on,” Miller said. “How those things come together to support and further the college’s mission is pretty special and sets Hillsdale apart from a lot of other institutions. We see this every day on campus, but it is also nice to see folks outside of Hillsdale recognize it.”

The full rankings can be seen at

“The word college means partnership,” Arnn said.  “All excellence in any organization, but especially in a college, is achieved by people working together toward the goal. We do that mighty well here, and all are to be thanked.”

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Thomas Novelly
Collegian Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Novelly was born in Novi, Michigan, but was raised in Franklin, Tennessee, making him a self-proclaimed "Yankee gone South." Thomas began writing for The Collegian as a sophomore, and since has served as a reporter, columnist, and Assistant City News Editor. He has also worked for two major publications, interning at the Washington Free Beacon in D.C. and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has been seen in National publications such as CBS News, National Review Online, Stars And Stripes, and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
  • Camus53

    Maybe the college would serve its mission of truth and integrity better by disclosing this is a “pay for referral” marketing company…NOT an independent accredited rating agency of any sort.

  • Jennifer Melfi

    no, this is how they are trying to sell the idea that they are a christian school and to try to make it seem like they are improving the student experience, when everything else points out that the student experience is worse as they become a religious school