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Furman’s first-year experience among top-20 in US News Rankings

Black swans swim in Furman Lake.

Last updated September 18, 2023

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy

Furman University again ranked among the best universities in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings, which were released today. Overall, the university ranked 46th among more than 200 national liberal arts colleges and universities, down one spot from 2022.

Furman is fifth among National Liberal Arts Colleges across the South and first overall among all universities, public and private, in South Carolina.

This year, Furman jumped 12 spots in the best “First Year Experiences” category, a group that includes all universities, landing at 20th, tied with Bryn Mawr and the University of Michigan and ahead of such schools as Williams College, Vanderbilt University and Duke University. This ranking is decided by university presidents, provosts and deans of admissions who are asked to list the top schools that come to mind in this category.

A notable experience for first-year and sophomore students at Furman is the Pathways Program, an integral part of The Furman Advantage. Pathways is a series of four one-credit classes led by faculty advisors and peer mentors that builds a foundation of self-awareness and professional skills. All students are required to take Pathways during their first two years. The Furman Advantage and Pathways are firsts in higher education, and many other universities have consulted with Furman on implementing similar programs on their campuses.

“It’s nice to be included in the ‘Best Colleges’ rankings,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “Furman is well represented, year after year. We are an increasingly diverse, innovative university, with stellar students, faculty and staff in a supportive environment. It’s difficult to reflect the quality and value of a Furman education in a single ranking.”

Furman is indeed on the rise. In 2021, applications rose above 7,000 for the first time. The next year, applications topped 7,500, and in 2023 more than 8,400 applicants sought to enter Furman. The current first-year class is the most academically selective since 2005.

In other college rankings this year, Furman placed 12th in “The Princeton Review Best Value Colleges” guide and 22nd for “Most Accessible Professors” in the Princeton Review “389 Best Colleges Guide.” The university also ranked 4th among all baccalaureate institutions and 3rd for campus engagement in the Sustainable Campus Index.

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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy