Williams College, a Massachusetts liberal arts college, topped rankings for the best colleges of 2010 in a report published Wednesday by Forbes Magazine and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) in Washington DC.
The list was compiled according to both qualitative and quantitative information acquired from college students.
As criteria, Forbes and the CCAP considered student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, four-year graduation rate, and how many students and faculty win prestigious awards such as Rhodes Scholarships or Nobel Prizes.
The group looked at sites such as RateMyProfessors.com and MyPlan.com to understand the level of contentment students felt about their colleges. Salary information from Payscale.com was used to gauge the success of alumni.
Williams College, a private college with 2,072 students, surpassed top Ivy league schools such as Princeton University, Harvard University, and Yale University, which came in second, eighth, and tenth, respectively on the Forbes list.
The United States Military Academy, which ranked number one last year, dropped to fourth place this year.
Amherst College, another small liberal arts school, ranked third, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology placed fifth, rounding out the top five.
The University of Virginia, listed number 44th this year, replacing The College of William and Mary as the highest ranked public school.
Williams belongs to the New England Small College Athletic Conference, a collection of New England liberal arts colleges similar to the Ivy League.
The system joins other popular college rankings for 2010 offered by Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report, which has ranked Williams College as the top liberal arts college for eight years.