The University of Central Arkansas ranks 23rd among the top 25 "Most Desirable Large Schools" in the fall 2010 Kaplan/Newsweek "Finding the Right College for You" guide.

"Most Desirable Large Schools" category includes schools such as Harvard University, Cornell University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California. 

The university also ranks 24th in the category of "Most Desirable Rural Schools." This list includes such well known universities as Dartmouth College and Clemson University. 

UCA and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville are the only Arkansas schools listed in the guide. 

"We are delighted that the nation will know what informed Arkansans have known for a long time," UCA President Allen Meadors said. "The University of Central Arkansas has much to offer its students in a wonderful setting. To be the only Arkansas school listed in these two categories is a real compliment to our faculty, staff, and community." 

Fall 2010 Kaplan/Newsweek "Finding the Right College for You" guide was released on Sept. 13. This is the first year the publication has ranked colleges and universities.

The publication’s 12 ranking categories were tailored to address concerns of prospective students and their parents, according to a press release. The categories cover areas including academics, social life, school size and location, and diversity. 

Colleges and universities in the rankings had to meet three criteria: 

• The school must be listed in one of the three leading college guides — Fiske’s Guide to Colleges, the Princeton Review’s Best 371 Colleges and the U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. 

• The school must have high academic standards —  schools in which the 75th percentile SAT score for the incoming freshman class is 1,150 or higher or 75th percentile ACT score of 25 or higher. 

• Offer a range of different degrees. 

The "Most Desirable" category was based on academic credentials of admitted applicants and quality of academic and non-academic experience at the school, the release states. Other factors in the rankings included the school’s retention rate, student-to-faculty ratio, school’s endowment and a student opinion survey conducted by College Prowler that rated the student’s views of dining, housing, and the school’s facilities.

UCA was recently listed in the 2011 Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The university ranks 17th out of 69 public universities in the category of "Top Public Schools" among regional universities in the South. Overall, UCA ranks 47th out of 121 private and public institutions in the South.