Forbes.com released the first annual “America’s Best Colleges” ranking Aug. 13, 2008, placing Lawrence University 68th best in the country and the leader of undergraduate education in Wisconsin. The report was compiled by Richard Vedder of Ohio University and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, and the report ranks a total of 569 undergraduate colleges and universities. The rankings were methodologically meant to reflect what a student would deem important when choosing a college. Forbes and the CCAP gathered their information from the students themselves, basing a quarter of the rankings on professor evaluations posted to RateMyProfessors.com and another quarter on the achievements of alumni, specifically if they are noted in “Who’s Who in America.” The rest of the rankings are equally weighted between the percentage of students who graduate in four years, the debt students owe at graduation, and the national awards won by both students and faculty. While Lawrence tops the state, it is followed by Carroll University 96 and Ripon College 109. Only two Wisconsin state schools made the list, UW-Madison 335 and UW-Milwaukee 527. Surprisingly, many big-name schools that have dominated other college rankings finished behind Lawrence. Such schools included University of California Berkley 73, Georgetown 76, Johns Hopkins University 81, Vanderbilt 105 and Dartmouth 127. Lawrence also beat other prominent Midwest schools, including Macalester 126 and Washington University in St. Louis 146. Forbes.com cites the report as being an “alternative” to U.S. News & World Report, which has traditionally dominated the field of college rankings. They wish to “reflect … the quality and cost of an undergraduate education at a wide range of American colleges” and to give families “all the information they can get.” The rankings show that students prefer smaller liberal arts schools that can provide personal attention from professors. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Lawrence outshone the competition. For more information and to see the complete list, visit Forbes.com.