The university sees itself ranked by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report—and they’ve been here before.
DAVENPORT, Iowa—For the second consecutive year, St. Ambrose ranks 27th in the Regional Universities – Midwest category from the U.S. News and World Report.
The Princeton Review ranks SAU as one of 158 colleges listed in the “Best in the Midwest” section of their 2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region edition.
Associate Vice President of Assessment and Research Tracy Schuster-Matlock says the university is asked to complete campus surveys every year.
“We complete these surveys because they are within the market we work and educate students,” Matlock said.
Outside for-profit entities such as federal and state governments ask colleges and universities to complete surveys, which look at a variety of categories such as freshman retention rate, graduation rate, job placement, financial aid, and campus life. Matlock says the university remains grounded, even after recognition like this.
“Regardless of the ratings we get,” Matlock said, “the university is always committed to making sure students ultimately achieve their career outcomes.”
St. Ambrose has seen an uptick in first-year students from last year, increasing from around 470 students to 520 students. The retention rate has also increased from 78 to 81%. Former student admissions ambassador Matt Jung holds a similar view to Matlock.
“We really focus on who people are,” Jung explained. “We could still win awards, but we won’t put that above student care, student opportunities, and getting to the student first.”
Jung worked as an admissions ambassador his freshman year where he served as a tele-marketer for the university and also hosted overnight visits. According to Jung, he thinks these rankings reflect what the university is truly like.
“You see a lot of people that want a place away from home with a welcoming atmosphere only found at a small school,” Jung said.
Matlock has worked at St. Ambrose for over 20 years and thinks the faculty’s humility is something that stands out.
“Historically we have been a humble university,” Matlock said. “We work hard to serve students and we make sure of that.”
However, these rankings do help promote the university in many different capacities.
“This is a great tool for communication and marketing whose job is to go out and get that freshman class,” Matlock continued. “It’s a great external benchmark we can share with stakeholders to remind them of the work we do. It builds pride and provides a more public message for what we do here.”
St. Ambrose also kept its number 19 ranking in the U.S. News and World Report for Best Colleges for Veterans in the Midwest. In other categories, SAU ranks 33 in Best Value Schools in the Midwest, which is determined by the percentage of undergraduate students receiving need-based scholarships and grants.