U.S. News ranks Asbury College No. 4

We've done it again! Whoever said 13 wasn't a good number, doesn't know Asbury College. For the 13th year in a row, the College has received top rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The 2006 edition of America's Best Colleges places us fourth in comprehensive colleges in the South.

"We are delighted to learn that again this year U.S. News & World Report has accorded us recognition of the quality education available at Asbury College," said Dr. Paul A. Rader, Asbury College president. "Asbury College is committed to maintaining its distinctive blend of academic excellence and spiritual vitality. Our goal as a transformative community is to prepare our students to make a difference in their world."

Asbury College stood out in this year's rankings by placing third in highest graduation rate. The College's traditionally strong emphasis on community and freshman retention contributes to this strength, as does a focused, intensive program to help new students adjust to college life. The College also proved to be one of the most affordable colleges in the South, ranked in the top 10 great schools at great prices.

With an average graduation rate of 63 percent, Asbury College was alongside Claflin University and Miles College in this year's rankings of Southern comprehensive colleges.

The College also scored well in its average freshman retention rate at 80 percent, student/faculty ratio at 11/1 and average alumni giving rate at 33 percent.

U.S. News & World Report ranks colleges and universities based on indicators of excellence in academic quality, such as academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The schools are ranked with their peer groups by region (North, South, Midwest, West), based on their composite score on these indicators. There are 324 schools nationwide categorized as "comprehensive colleges." Among such schools, 106 are in the South, Asbury College's region.

The newsstand book, America's Best Colleges, which contains the U.S. News college rankings, is slated to go on sale Aug. 22. Most of the rankings and some of the articles from the book will be in the Aug. 29 issue of U.S. News & World Report, the weekly newsmagazine, which also goes on sale Aug. 22.

U.S. News included Asbury College among its top 10 lists for 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998 and 1996. U.S. News also placed the College in Tier 1 of Southern regional liberal arts colleges in 1997.

Freshmen and transfers arrived on campus Friday for orientation activities that continued until classes began Tuesday, ranging from sessions on navigating the campus computer network to Sunday afternoon visits to professors' and staff members' homes. Students participate in the activities as part of 12- to 14-member Transition and Guidance (TAG) groups, which are typically led by sophomore students and continue to meet throughout the fall semester.

Other students arrived in Wilmore early to participate in the wilderness-based Archways program, which combines time for reflection with high-adventure activities both at the College's ropes challenge course and at Red River Gorge.

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