Albion College was ranked fourth in Study.com’s 50 Best Economics Schools for 2018.
The ranking includes both private institutions and public universities across the U.S. Albion was ranked behind Virginia Military Institute, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Wabash College.
On the website, Study.com said the rankings were determined “based on several factors, including data provided by the U.S. Department of Education and unique features and opportunities offered to economics students.” Study.com staff were contacted for further details about how the site’s rankings were determined, but the organization did not return requests.
Study.com is a site that offers video lessons on college material and offers counseling services to help prospective students make college decisions.
The ranking cited that Albion can personalize their major to their specific economics interest, from an economics and management major to a mathematics/economics major.
Albion College has organizations geared towards economics, business and finance majors, including Investment Club. A chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon (international honor society in economics) is also established on campus. The Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management is another draw.
At the end of the day, Economics Department Chair John Bedient believes the biggest deciding factor for prospective students is the interactions on campus with current students, admissions staff and faculty.
“Bill Bartels in Geology and I are famous for saying that if you give us a [prospective] student and their parents for half an hour, we’ll get them,” he said. “You really get a chance to empathize with the student and get to know what’s important to them.”
Bedient said several factors contribute to the department’s success. Professors work one-on-one with students when additional help is needed, but professors’ experience in the classroom also allows them to anticipate and address common questions and problems. Bedient also points to how well the professors complement each other.
“We’re all strong in our own areas, but we all mesh and overlap,” Bedient said. “What I tell seniors is that if you’re hearing the same things in your classes, you’ve made it. You’re beginning to see the interconnections between the courses as opposed to seeing them one by one.”
Alumni connections are an additional asset that benefits the department.
“I probably get an email or phone call every two weeks from an alum wanting to reconnect, looking for students they can help,” Bedient said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been told ‘no,’ and I think that’s very important to our success.”