Union College is ranked 21st among the nation's four-year baccalaureate institutions in Yahoo! Internet Life magazine's annual “100 Most-Wired Colleges” ranking.
The College last year was listed 160th in a category that then also included research universities, which now are ranked separately.
“Just as prospective students have long been paying attention to things like quality of faculty, the library, class size, and living quarters, they are asking more and more questions about information technology,” said David Cossey, executive director of the Office of Computer Services.
In a brief narrative, the magazine cited Union's International Virtual Design programs that team engineering students with their counterparts at institutions in Turkey and France.
The ranking, which appears in the magazine's May edition and online, listed Williams College first, Colgate University second, and Bates College third. Among other institutions listed, Trinity was 10th, Swarthmore 15th, Colby 20th, Vassar 22nd, Bowdoin 25th and Skidmore 27th.
The survey scored institutions in four general areas: access and infrastructure, administrative, general resources and support. Union scored 78.25. The top school scored 86.89, the 100th (Grinnell) 68.96.
Among some of the trends nationally, 98 percent of schools allow online applications, 84 percent offer electronic library book reservations, 68 percent offer Web based registration, and 41 percent offer wireless access.
The survey was conducted in partnership with Peterson's, which collected data via online surveys. Results were tabulated and reviewed by Yahoo! editors, who then determined rankings.
Critics have faulted the ranking, claiming that the criteria are changed year-to-year, said Cossey. Some institutions including six Ivy League schools elected not to participate in this year's survey.
Details on the top 100 are on the Web at www.wiredcolleges.com.