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U.S. News highlights ACU’s nationally ranked student experience for fifth year in a row

For the fifth consecutive year, the student experience at Abilene Christian University, both in and out of the classroom, was ranked as one of the nation’s best in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report rankings released today – in the categories of Study Abroad, Learning Communities, Service Learning, First-Year Experience and Senior Capstone.

Overall, ACU performed better than any other university in Texas in the “Programs to Look For” benchmarks, ranking in five of eight categories focused on student experience and student success. Abilene Christian has been recognized as one of the country’s top each year since the benchmark’s debut in the 2020 edition. According to U.S. News & World Report, this designation highlights universities and colleges that offer “well-regarded study abroad, service learning and other programs that, research shows, are linked to student success and positive learning outcomes while fostering a successful undergraduate student experience.” 

ACU earned a top 10 national ranking in three “Programs to Look For” categories – the only Texas university to record three top 10 spots – and was ranked in five out of eight highlighted categories, more than any other Texas college or university. These rankings span all sizes and classifications of U.S. institutions.

Top 10 rankings:

  • SERVICE LEARNING: (1) Berea College; (2) Tulane; (3) Duke; (3) Elon; (5) Boston College; (5) Notre Dame; (7) Abilene Christian; (8) Michigan State; (9) Georgetown; (10) Agnes Scott College; (10) Brown.
  • FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE: (1) Elon; (2) South Carolina; (3) Agnes Scott College; (4) Georgia State (5) Amherst College; (5) Baylor; (7) Abilene Christian; (8) Berea College; (8) Boston College; (8) Brown.
  • LEARNING COMMUNITIES: (1) Elon; (2) Yale; (3) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor; (4) Agnes Scott College; (5) Michigan State; (6) Georgia State; (7) Abilene Christian; (8) Princeton; (8) University of Maryland – College Park; (10) Baylor.

In the category of Study Abroad, ACU came in at No. 23 in the nation, tied with Yale. The Study Abroad opportunities offered to ACU students – in Germany, England and Uruguay – provide students with authentic international experiences in easily navigable cities where students can safely engage the local community. Programs are offered year round at three hub sites: an ACU-owned Victorian-era house in Oxford, England; an ACU-owned historic villa in Leipzig, Germany; and a leased property in Montevideo, Uruguay. Students choose from semester-long programs in the fall and spring or intensive, discipline-specific programs in the summer. 

ACU also ranked No. 26 nationally in Senior Capstone – the only Texas university named to this category. Experiential learning – or learning by doing – is an important part of an ACU education and is built into the curriculum for all undergraduate majors from their freshman through senior years. Their academic experience culminates with the Senior Capstone, in which students nearing graduation complete a project integrating what they’re taught in the classroom with real-life experience. 

One of the pillars of Abilene Christian’s strategic plan is to “provide a vibrant student experience that strengthens ACU’s commitment to spiritual formation and leverages ACU’s national leadership in student success.”

“The holistic student experience is a priority for us in our mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world, so it’s gratifying to see others recognize those ACU distinctives,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, president. “Our status as a national research university is coupled with faith development, impactful co-curricular experiences and the formation of lifelong relationships, and that sets ACU apart from most other universities.”

–Wendy Kilmer

September 21,2023

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