Bard College at Simon's Rock Ranks First in Washington Monthly's Annual College guide

This month The Washington Monthly released its annual college guide, ranking Bard College at Simon’s Rock number one in the nation among Baccalaureate Colleges. The Washington Monthly’s guide measures how well colleges and universities fulfill their public mission.

The Washington Monthly ranking is profound because it recognizes not only what a Simon’s Rock education means for an individual, but what it means for the country,” Provost Mary B. Marcy said. “It honors our institutional commitment to service, research and student support. And it confirms that the caliber of work and learning taking place on this small but impressive campus is making a better world. This is what a transformative education looks like in action.”

The College’s impressive track record of admitting and graduating a socioeconomically diverse student body was highlighted, as well as its steadfast pursuit September Feature pull quoteto nurture lifelong intellectualism and service. Of all the measures, Simon’s Rock alumni ranked above all other peer institutions in BA to PhD conversion, and in graduate participation in the Peace Corps. The college also scored well on measures of accepting and graduating Pell Grant recipients, and in students’ involvement in service projects.

“When we published our first ranking in 2005, the idea was to upend the traditional notion of a college guide,” the Monthly’s editors write in their introduction. “Instead of asking what a college could do for you, we asked, ‘What are colleges doing for the country?’”

To be exact, the survey measures how committed colleges are to helping disadvantaged students; how devoted they are to supporting students through their entire education; what percentage of a college’s federal study funds it allocates to service projects; how many alumni participate in service programs like the Peace Corps or the ROTC, and how many go on to earn their PhD.

This fact is well represented in the scores of alumni who have gone on to earn doctorates, along with the impressive group of alumni intellectuals and activists who include Eli Pariser, president of; Ronan Farrow, UNICEF spokesperson, and human rights activist; and political commentator John McWhorter, among a score of other notable alumni.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock has been a leader in the early college movement for more than 40 years and continues to distinguish itself as the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide bright, highly motivated students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. At Simon’s Rock, students experience a transformative education in the liberal arts and sciences in the company of smart, independent, creative peers who share their excitement about learning and their desire to be part of a vibrant intellectual community. Students who successfully complete the requirements receive the associate in arts (A.A.) degree after two years of study and the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree after four.